Macao, Macau, China
Equipment and Infrastructures
The Government Palace is one of the most impres- sive neo-Classical constructions in Macau. It was erected on Praia Grande in 1859, then being the prop- erty of the Baron (later Viscount) of Cercal, Alexandrino António de Melo, who rented it to the governor José Maria Lobo d’Ávila on 8 June 1873. The central government approved the purchase of the building from the viscount’s widow in 1881 and it definitively became a possession of the Portuguese state.
There had been a previous Government Palace, but at a certain time it was deemed too modest for both the functional needs of the administration of the territory and as a symbol of authority. There are documents that provide important information about the work undertaken. The procurator Luís Coelho was charged with its construction in 1767 and the work was finished by 1769. A final inspection was made on 4 January of that year and the keys were handed over to the Senate on 4 March in return for final payment of the costs.
The present-day building is U-shaped, with two extremely salient bodies with verandas and another with a veranda along the whole of the former façade. The building acquired more dignity with the construction of another advanced body at the entrance, which is reached by means of a stairway that is only for the sake of appearance. The architect also used a neo-classical grammar here, which was then in fashion in Macau and which was a symbol of dignity for buildings, justifying the triangular pediments over the windows and the verandas on the upper floor. The staircase and the noble salon must be mentioned in the interior, which is also in neoclassical.