New Central Library Project

New Central Library Project

The library is the cultural business card of a city. In order to promote the sustainable development of Macao culture, encourage literacy and consolidate the cornerstone of the humanities, the Macao SAR Government has defined the construction of a New Central Library as an important initiative to create a cultural space, which will become a cultural landmark in Macao after completion of the project.

The New Central Library will be established in the area currently occupied by the Old Court Building and the Former Judiciary Police Building in the city centre of Macao, located at the east entrance of the Historic Centre of Macao. The area thus has great cultural and historical significance.

In response to the needs of urban development and the diversification of reading demands, the New Central Library will be a sustainable cultural space covering several functional areas, including spaces for cultural exchange, urban hall, urban memory, exhibition hall, artistic creation, leisure, etc.



  1. Brief Introduction to the Project
    • According to the New Macao Central Library project, the architectural features of the Old Court Building and the Former Judiciary Police Building will be preserved, while new and underground floors will be built, bringing the total number of floors to 11. The building will be divided into three sections, namely a section for the library collection, a public section and a technical support section, thus providing a space for integrated reading services.
    • According to preliminary estimates, the budget for the construction of the New Central Library is 900 million patacas, but a more accurate budget will be revealed upon completion of the design development. The public works departments will monitor the project in accordance with the usual supervisory mechanism for large-scale public works, in order to prevent cost overruns and postponements.
    • The New Central Library, as the core of Macao’s public library network, will coordinate the resources of public libraries and introduce a variety of applied technologies and new ideas to support the service of the community libraries.
      There are currently 17 public libraries under the Cultural Affairs Bureau, categorized as community libraries in terms of their scale, which are spread over five districts to serve residents and to provide access to library facilities and materials.
  2. Basic Concepts
    • The New Macao Central Library building will be established in the plot located at no. 459, Avenida da Praia Grande and no. 1-9, Rua Central, as well as an adjacent plot at Avenida da Praia Grande. In accordance with the provisions of Law No. 11/2013 (Cultural Heritage Protection Law), the plot encompasses two independent buildings, including the Old Court Building, classified as a “building of architectural interest”, and the Former Judiciary Police Building, which is part of a heritage buffer zone.

    • Given the classification of the Old Court Building as a “building of architectural interest”, the Cultural Affairs Bureau will base on the protection requirements stipulated by the Cultural Heritage Protection Law  to develop the New Central Library project. The project ensures the complete preservation of the Old Court Building, including its unique style and all architectural elements of cultural value, while also ensuring that new architectural space and elements will be pursued, bequeathed and developed in terms of architectural arts and urban design. The maximum building height shall not exceed 53m above sea level. Upon completion of the New Central Library, the Old Court Building will remain fully intact, which will enhance the positive contribution of the New Central Library building to the cultural development of Macao.

    • By selecting the best architectural planning, the future New Central Library will become an excellent case study in the field of organic combination and harmonious dialogue between ancient and modern buildings.

      Illustrations of the alternative proposals are as follows. Concrete design will be developed by the design team in the future:
  3. Work Stages
    Stage Year Items

    Schematic Design

    • Public consultation and preliminary studies
    • Site selection and organization of an architectural concept design competition (the result of the competition was subsequently cancelled)
    • Implementation of the first stage preliminary planning (on Old Court Building).

    Schematic Design

    • Merging of the first stage (Old Court Building) and second stage (Former Judiciary Police Building) to an overall planning.
    Design Development 2016-2019
    • Starting of the design development