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Govt receives 9 bids for central library design

Tue, 10th Jul 2018

The Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) told the media Monday that nine companies have submitted bids for the detailed design for the government’s long-delayed new central library project in Nam Van.

Monday was the deadline for submitting the bids.

The bureau will unseal the bids today.

The bureau launched a tender for the drafting of a detailed design plan for the project on March 7. Local licensed architects or architecture companies were entitled to submit a bid.

The government has been planning for over a decade to turn the Old Courthouse in Nam Van into the city’s new central library. The government has said that the project will keep the façade and major internal parts of the Old Courthouse intact. The project also includes the former headquarters of the Judiciary Police (PJ) behind the Old Courthouse in Rua Central.

The Old Courthouse is officially listed as a building of architectural interest.

On Saturday last week, IC Vice President Leong Wai Man told reporters her bureau had still not received any bids for the matter. She said at that time her bureau believed that the bids would be submitted “at the last minute” as those interested in the project could be expected to do their best drafting their public tender documents.

She also said the late submissions were also due to the fact that the new central library is generally regarded by local architects as a large-scale project which will also involve the protection of an old edifice – the Old Courthouse – and the handling of a combination of the old building and a new architectural structure to be built upon the former.

The Old Courthouse, built in 1951, has been vacant for over a decade. It is occasionally used for exhibitions and other events.

The bureau has previously said that it is planning to spend about 900 million patacas on the construction of the new central library. The bureau has said that it expects the construction to get off the ground next year.

On the official website detailing the new central library project, the bureau says that “given the classification of the Old Courthouse as a building of architectural interest, the Cultural Affairs Bureau will develop the new central library project based on the protection requirements stipulated by the Cultural Heritage Protection Law. The project ensures the complete preservation of the Old Courthouse, including its unique style and all architectural elements of cultural value, while also ensuring that new architectural space and characteristics will be pursued and developed in terms of architectural arts and urban design.”

According to the website, the height of the new central library will not exceed 53 metres.

The government’s proposed 53-metre height above sea level for the new central library is noticeably lower than the adjacent buildings.

The website also says that the Old Courthouse will “remain fully intact” upon completion of the project. The website does not give a timetable as to when the project is expected to be completed.