50 public and private venues in Macau will be open to the public this weekend "to celebrate and democratize" the city's hybrid architecture, the curator of the Open House Macau festival, Nuno Soares, told Lusa.
It is the first time that the festival - founded in 1992 in London - travels to Asia, "where the academy and studies focusing on architecture arrived a little later than in Europe," says Nuno Soares.
"Macau has a very long urban history, dating back to 450 years. It makes perfect sense to have Macau as the first place to host such an event in Asia, because it has a long history of hybrid architecture and architectural celebration," he said.
According to the curator, bringing this event to Macau is especially relevant at a time when "Asia is more concerned with producing architecture than with contemplating the architecture that has been produced in the past."
"We have already been recognized as a Wold Heritage Site. There is a solid foundation indeed, so this is a good time to talk about our architectural heritage," he said.
Overall, 50 buildings - from examples of vernacular [traditional] architecture to neoclassical, art deco, modernist and contemporary styles - will be open to the public in order to help understand the culture and urban fabric of Macau.
"We have come up with the [five] keys that will sort of organize the whole heritage that exists in Macau. Instead of talking about single buildings, we will be talking about these five moments, which have some coherence," the architect said.
From houses to courtyards, from temples to nurseries, pedestrian bridges or even electric stations, many venues will be open to the public for the first time.
The weekend, he argues, does not exhaust the purpose of the festival: the idea is to democratize architecture for non-specialized audiences.
"We won't be merely seeing buildings and empty walls, but buildings that tell stories through the people who live there and know them in detail. The guided tours will reveal some of those hidden memories," Soares said.
As for the number of visitors, expectations "are great." They had more than 500 guided tour bookings on Tuesday, a number that "has been increasing."
Finally, Nuno Soares announced that the festival will be an annual event. Next year they will extend the festival to Taipa Island and, the following year, to Coloane Island.
To prepare the visit and see all the buildings, click here.