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Macau Reframed: The City, Its People and their Trace

2015.11.30

Main Organizer : Cultural Affairs Bureau of Macao S.A.R. Government

Co-Organizers: Architects Association of Macau  and Macau Urban Planning Institute

Creative Team and Participants:CURB 

Cities are made by all of us citizens with our small actions and big gestures. Governments, politicians, entrepreneurs, industrialists, real estate developers, bankers, engineers and architects, all take an evident role in shaping the city with master plans, investment in infrastructure, large developments and landmarks. But cities are more than a sum of streets, towers, monuments… there is also the human scale, small buildings, housing units, shop-houses, kiosks, shop fronts, doors, canopies, old neighborhoods, outdoor furniture, trees, hawkers, and small door shrines… The human side comprises the people, the inhabitants, the local traditions, common materials, vernacular constructions, the craftsmen, and the artifacts they produce to adapt the city to their needs and wishes. 

Macau Reframed: The City, Its People And Their Trace embraces the theme of UABB 2015, “Re-living the city” as an opportunity to look to the city we have. It contemplates the needs and skills of its inhabitants, the spaces and small-scale artifacts that populate Macau’s urban landscape, and goes a step further to speculate on innovative ways to improve our existing city from the bottom up. The exhibition, coordinated by the non-profit Center for Architecture and Urbanism (CURB), proposes a shift in focus. Instead of concentrating on the exuberance of urban growth, the glitz of new casinos, or large-scale developments, it reframes and re-examines the existing city that citizens keep building everyday. 

In the making of the Macau Pavilion, CURB has gathered a multidisciplinary team lead by Nuno Soares, with Filipa Simões, James Chu, Álvaro Barbosa, Kevin Lam, Hermana Heong, along with a range of institutions (Faculty of Creative Industries at University of Saint Joseph, Macau Design Centre, Ponte 9 Creative Platform), and local creative companies (Urban Practice, Why Design Ltd). 

Both architecture and urbanism are seamlessly integrated in the Macau Pavilion. The Architecture is addressed in the pavilion shape, testing an innovative and explorative form, with local construction materials, to create a dynamic spatial experience. The wooden frame, traditionally used in Macau as a hidden structure in vernacular interior constructions or temporary sidings, is uncovered and brought to view, celebrating its aesthetics and tectonics as a highly flexible structure to customize spaces without changing the buildings’ structures. The Urbanism is tackled in the pavilion contents, with videos showing urban space in relation to its inhabitants and the traces of their activities.

The Macau Pavilion shows the city under a new frame, as a place built by individuals in a permanently iterative process, addressing the theme of individual daily actions and the possibility of personal intervention in the construction of the city.