We are excited to reveal that Mecanoo has been selected by the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macau SAR Government to design a New Central Library in Macau. The 3 other finalists were ALA Architects, Herzog & de Meuron, and Grafton Architects. The new 15.000m2 building will be located by the Tap Seac square in the historical center of Macau, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The building is located on the site of the former Hotel Estoril designed by the Macau- born Portuguese architect, Alfredo Victor Jorge Álvares.
Libraries are dynamic and continually changing. While clearly a contemporary structure within a traditional context, the New Central Library will provide a forward-thinking platform for influencing its surroundings. The adjacent square will become an integral part of the library, creating an activated public realm, which will encourage visitors to use all the public amenities that new library can offer.
Rather than imagining the New Central Library simply as a cultural destination in Macau, Mecanoo’s design proposal is built around the idea of creating a journey – one that commences at city level via the Tap Seac Square and continues through a series of interconnected spaces, leading visitors all the way to the large reading rooms situated at the top level of the building.
The facade takes inspiration from the former modernist design of Hotel Estoril by filtering the light and creating a controlled indoor climate. An intriguing play of light and shadow will be projected onto the floor and walls of the library. The façade pattern acts as an extension of the bookshelves, from the inside out, from stack to protective shell.
The uniform skin wraps the library volume and opens up like a book page to the main entrance facing the Tap Seac square. This welcoming gesture is an essential part of the relationship between library and square. The key to the future success of the library lies in being inclusive, open and accessible. A place where everyone feels they belong.