Local architect Carlos Marreiros won the tender for the “Preparation of the New Macau Central Library Project” at the Old Courthouse, with a price tag of 18.68 million patacas, the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) said in a statement on Saturday.
The bureau held a press conference at the Old Courthouse where it presented both the winning design proposal for the New Macau Central Library Project and also the tendering process of the library design and planning.
According to the bureau’s statement, the project’s tender notice was published on March 1 this year and the sealed bids were opened on July 10.
A total of nine tenders were received and accepted by the tender board, with the prices ranging from 9.8 million patacas to 43 million patacas, and the design completion period from 210 days to 320 days.
The bid submitted by Marreiros was the third lowest.
The statement said that the evaluation of the proposals was carried out at the end of September. After three days of evaluation, Marreiros’ company MAA Marreiros Architectural Atelier Limited won the tender with the highest score, with a tender price of 18.68 million patacas and a design completion period of 268 days.
Utilising the area currently occupied by the Old Courthouse in Avenida da Praia Grande and the former Judiciary Police (PJ) headquarters in Rua Central, with 11 floors and a basement, the new building will contain three different sections – a library collection section, a public section and a technical support section.
According to the statement, the Old Courthouse is classified as a building of architectural interest, because of which the government is required to protect it under the Cultural Heritage Protection Law.
The courthouse was built in the early 1950s in Portugal’s so-called “Estado Novo” (“New State”) style common during the country’s corporatist 1933-1974 dictatorship
“The Old Courthouse will completely retain all the architectural elements and features which contribute to the Old Courthouse’s unique architectural style and cultural value, including its façade, rooftop, structure, floor slabs and distinctive internal spaces, among others,” the statement said, adding that the new building’s height limit of 53 metres would enhance urban design while preserving its existing features.
“Thus serving as a good example of the organic integration and harmonious dialogue between historic and modern architecture,” the statement said.
According to Marreiros’ personal website, his company has been restoring old buildings and designing new buildings in Macau since the 1980s. Some of his projects include Praça do Tap Seac, the Tennis Academy & Bowling Centre, and the No. 2 Police Station in Avenida de Almirante Lacerda.
The first tender for the design of the Old Courthouse was abruptly cancelled by the bureau a decade ago due to an investigation by the Commission Against Corruption. At that time, Marreiros had been excluded from the tender.
IC officials have said they expect the New Macau Central Library to open in 2022 at the earliest. Currently, the Central Library is located in Praça do Tap Seac.