22-26 July 2001


Posted on 19 Oct 2008 by admin

Monday, July 23, 2001, 11:00-13:00

Report I-1:

José CHUI (Macau):

Macau was once a quiet small fishing village, until the official landing of Portuguese settlement on Macau Peninsula. The settlements were built near numbers of churches and military buildings which constituted the name "Christian City". By mid-17th century, the Portuguese population was shifted towards the Barra Sea and the Chinese community remained at the west end of the Peninsula along the Inner Harbor Sea. By the 18th century, the growth of population caused many farmlands being converted into residential and commercial quarters. Major reclamation started from 1860's up to 1990's including the southern and western end of Peninsula, the eastern sides of the Peninsula's outer Harbor, the islands of Taipa and Coloane and the northern zone near the Border Gate. It encouraged many new developments, which is important to Macau's tourist industry.

In 1976, Macau established the Cultural Property Preservation Committee, which became the Macau Cultural Institute in 1982, and formulated a list of historical buildings to be preserved. In 1984, a more vigorous law for the preservation and restoration works was announced in 1984. In 1992, the list of sites was further classified into four categories: 1) Monument; 2) Buildings of architectural interest; 3) Classified areas and 4) Classified sites, totaling 128 items with total area of 3.05 km2. In addition, certain conservation zones were identified.

In this year's government policy, the overall heritage preservation strategy is pointed out to preserve the existing heritage character by striking a balance between oriental and occidental dimensions. Moreover, the promotion and education of cultural heritage, enhancement of civic awareness, and development of cultural tourism are mandated and the potential of regeneration of businesses has received more attention.

Furthermore, the private interest on redevelopment of the old quarters resulted in a collection of the more significant heritage managing to survive. The recent government acquisition of the Mandarin House through land exchange has set the norm for future negotiation.

In considering the possible trend of heritage preservation, three points may receive more attention. Firstly, for that conservation involving groups of buildings or a unique precinct, certain heritage buildings in the area should receive greater attention. It is also important to maintain the original social activities and cultural identify in the restoration area. Secondly, in urban renewal, the conservation of those historic quarters should receive more attention for their potential of regeneration of businesses like the development of tourist industry. Lastly, a sense of pride should be instilled into people's mind and owners of heritage buildings by public education. Educational materials should be provided in regular students and adult education programs.

Report I-2:


Architecture in Macau was a mixed architecture of western influences with Portuguese playing the major and significant part. Spanish and Italian also contributed in small amount mainly for religious reasons. Local architecture can be originated form Renaissance architecture or even Southern France architecture.

Other mixed archetypes and architectural sensibility were also brought to Macau by Portuguese since the very beginning, from the late 16 century to 17 and 18 centuries. These included Brazil, Morocco, Goa and Ceylon. Afro-tropical and Oriental skills, techniques, new materials and autochthonous knowledge of climate and spatial approaches, which were new to Europe, were also introduced.

Portuguese architecture in Macau is very well illustrated in their masonry and plaster works. Their vertical timber windows are also unique.

Local Chinese architecture, Lingnang style, also played an important role for this Western look architecture. However, many of those were not built up by professional architects. Traditional Chinese concepts like building process and material, ornament details, spatial organization and Feng-shui principles can be found hidden in these Mediterranean neo-classical buildings in Macau which look totally western. The whole architecture exists as a series of spaces articulated by houses and pavilions exists as a series. Lingnang style, characterized by its vibrant colour expression and use of ornament, is well illustrated in a lot of local architecture.

Report I-3:


The story of the Goan house begins in antiquity and like all vernacular architecture; it begins with the deployment of locally available materials within the framework of a local climate. Its monsoon was fierce and protecting oneself from it was the basis of architectural form.

The preferred form was a courtyard house, which suited the social life of its people.

After the conquest of Goa in 1510, the Portuguese decided to use religion to make inroads into their new colony through large and impressive religious buildings. The European lifestyle was encouraged in an attempt to separate the newly converted Goan Christian from his cultural roots. They adopted a European stance but did not cut himself off from his Indian roots completely.

The outcome of this cultural amalgamation gave birth to a culture that became over time richer and more innovative in form and meaning than the original. In turn, this affected the design of houses owned by Goan Hindus. The Goan house during its evolution developed a very wide and interesting variety in its various elements. Columns, gateposts, windows, doors, false ceilings became fodder for the imagination of the Goan people. As Goa is a very class-conscious society, the portico in front of the house became more elaborated to express the social status of the house owner.

There has been a great deterioration in the upkeep of these houses since liberation (1961) for the following reasons:
• Rent Control Act where unremunirative rents do not permit the landlord to repair
• The breakup of the joint family and the difficulty in dividing these houses.
• The high cost of repair and maintenance of these houses
• The increase in land value resulting in developers tearing down these houses and replacing it with blocks of flats.

The keys to the preservation of these houses are as follows:
• Legislation. New legislation to be introduced where these houses are given a grading which specifies what is permissible.
• Exploiting the commercial possibilities of 'Heritage Value'. Goa being a tourist destination, many of these houses are being converted into boutiques, hotels and restaurants. Also many rich Indians and Westerners are restoring their homes as vacation houses.
• Heritage awareness. Exhibition, festivals, presses coverage exposure to school children. This will go a long way to make the legislation effective.

Report I-4:


-The Church of St. Paul in Macau under the Transformation of Portuguese Architecture in their Colonies

The development by the Portuguese in East Asia during the 16th and 17th centuries was a result of trade and most of the Portuguese settlement was not their own colonies. Thus, the existence of the Portuguese architecture in Asia was limited to a small area, namely Macau and Goa. In this article, a comparative study is made on one of the case of Portuguese architectural style in Asia, and its importance is revealed even for the European architectural history.

Portuguese architecture was influenced by many leading designers, mainly from Italy through Spain, and was clearly exemplified by military and religious architecture. Portuguese religious architecture has two fundamental design principles before Spanish rule. One is crypto-collateral nave and the other the salon auditorium nave. The Portuguese Jesuit church had transformed by India and mixed with the Oriental style.

The architecture in Macau has both Portuguese and Chinese origin. The plain style of Portuguese colonial architecture was a result of utility and economy. The St. Paul Church has been considered as a harmonious combination of European and Oriental styles, but not considered in any Portuguese architectural typologies.

Sometimes the design of St. Paul was attributed to the design of Vignola's Gesu in Rome, but that cannot be proved. As revealed by archaeological studies, the width of the Church's nave is coincident with Goa span. It also has had a Latin cross plan with a basilica. The Church also has the Spanish influence, as shown by its design of rectangle-facade. This style was a standard in Spain.

Manueline is a national style of decoration enhanced for outside of Portugal, but its direct influence to the architecture of Macau could not be seen. However, if we define Portuguese Manueline architecture as a late medieval Platersque and North European forms intermingle with international composition, the facade of St. Paul must be considered as one of the masterpieces of late Manueline influenced, directly from their mainland and the transfiguration of the Portuguese Jesuit church in Asia. Thus, the announcement of Baroque in the Portuguese colonies at the fundamental phase should be considered separately from Italian influence and local intermixed culture.


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