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Ponte 11
©CURB ArchivePonte 11, a former firecracker factory

Interview: Nuno Soares, Open House Macau

Macau hosts Asia’s very first Open House event this November. We talk to Nuno Soares, the event’s organiser, to discover more

Written by
Time Out Hong Kong

Open House was established in London in 1992 with the aim of providing free access to the British capital’s best buildings, including usually off-limits locations like 10 Downing Street and the city’s private members clubs. Taking place in Macau on November 10-11, the event makes its Asian debut this year, offering visitors the opportunity to step inside 50 buildings that demonstrate the city’s alluring east-meets-west architectural history. We sit down with organiser and architect Nuno Soares to hear what the event has to offer. By Sarah Moran

How would you describe Open House to people unfamiliar with the concept?
Open House is a worldwide event that opens the doors of interesting buildings that are usually not accessible to the public, allowing everyone to visit them for free. It democratises architecture by opening these buildings to anyone interested in the subject. It’s an event that welcomes everyone to visit and celebrate architecture.

What makes Macau a good city for this sort of event?
Macau is a very dense and unusual city in Asia, with a 500-year history of coexistence between east and west that’s produced a peculiar urban place and unique architecture that reflects that history. We’re fortunate to have a rich and eclectic collection of buildings from different periods coexisting in close proximity to one another. That makes Macau an ideal setting for an event like this and we hope people will visit not just one or two places, but several.

Which building do you think the public will be most interested in visiting?
Our main idea is not to focus on key buildings or historic masterpieces, but to have a rich and diverse selection. We will have a carpark, a fire station tower, a private villa, patios and much more. The highlight of this event is the eclectic range of buildings that really celebrate the untold architectural history of Macau.

What do you hope people will take away from the event?
What we hope is that people discover new buildings that were right under their noses all this time, that they’ve never really looked at. We want regular citizens to walk through the city and to pay more attention to the heritage they have and the buildings that surround them. We want them to be able to say, “I was inside that building in an area that’s usually not accessible.” They’ll take ownership of that experience and celebrate the architecture of their own city.

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