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Macao Science Center

Kerun Ip, Courtesy of PEI Architects

This gleaming aluminum-clad building is a prominent waterfront landmark at the gateway to Macao, about an hour by ferry from Hong Kong. Located on reclaimed land in the Pearl River Delta and in focal view from the Amizade Bridge, it presents a distinctive cultural identity to a Special Administrative Region of China (SAR) better known for gambling casinos and entertainment. The inaugural project of the local government’s newly-formed Macao Foundation, it was undertaken to promote youthful interest in science and technology and to provide a regional center for science education, exhibitions, and conventions.

The playful massing of the 250,000-square-foot building includes three interlinked components. The tallest is the Exhibition Center, an asymmetrical cone housing 14 exhibition galleries that invite visitors to interactively explore different disciplines, from the environment to aeronautics, robotics, and temporary installations – all as a gateway into the fascinating world of science. The galleries are accessed on a skylit spiral walkway that adds an engaging spatial dimension to a visit; the building itself is part of the adventure. Toward the summit, an observation deck leads to a glass bridge and elevated platform that affords 360-degree views out to the city and the sea. A glazed escalator inclines up/down to the linked dome-shaped planetarium: a 150-seat theater-in-the-round equipped with the world’s highest-resolution stereoscopic projections. The third component is a rhomboid-shaped conference center housing offices, advanced conference facilities, meeting rooms, and a multi-function hall/ballroom that can accommodate 500 people.


Site plan / Courtesy of PEI Architects

Recognized as 1 of 12 Architectural Marvels in Macau, the complex received a Golden Award, Macau Architecture Award in 2016.

Design Team: Pei Partnership Architects; I.M. Pei, Design Architect