Classified Immovable Properties

    AM047-Building at Calçada da Vitória no. 55



    Location: Macao

    Category: Buildings of architectural interest

    Since the inauguration of Estrada da Vitória and Avenida de Vasco da Gama, the hillside of Guia Hill has gradually developed into another villa estate joining those on Praia Grande and Praia do Bom Parto. According to the drawings, construction permit and property registration document, the building was applied for and constructed by the famed overseas Chinese merchant Hee Cheong to be used as his Macao residence, and it was completed in around 1926-1928. After his passing, the building passed through several hands before finally being sold to the Diocese of Macau.

     

    In 1942, when Hong Kong fell under Japan occupation, many wealthy Hong Kong businesspeople sought refuge in Macao, and the well-known Wai family who operated a pharmaceutical factory also moved to Macao and rented the house. Wai Sio Pak, the founder and owner of the factory, also passed away in this house. His descendant, Wai Kei Shun, gave a detailed description of the house and the social circumstances in Macao during wartime in his column.

     

    Hee Cheong was the founder and manager of President Hotel (later renamed Hotel Central), the first hotel of modern architectural style in Macao, and was also a prominent overseas Chinese businessman. Hee, together with a number of overseas Chinese, donated money for the establishment of the Macao Overseas Chinese Free Public School (one of the predecessors of Keang Peng School), to provide learning opportunities for impoverished students. Hee also held a post with the Macao Chamber of Commerce and the Kiang Wu Hospital Charitable Association.

     

    The Building at Calçada da Vitória no. 55 is a two-storey asymmetrical masonry villa residence. The rectangular-shaped building measures three bays in width, with arcades at the south and east sides and a protruding polygonal turret at the southwest side. As a typical villa residence in Macao back then, the first floor of the main building was used for social purposes and comprised an atrium, living room and dining room. The second floor that is connected to the first floor through wooden staircases, however, were used as private spaces, such as the master and guest bedrooms; the ancillary building used for daily life is erected behind the main building. The main building has a façade with three horizontal sections, with the southern side of the roof featuring a Baroque curved pediment bearing the inscription of the construction year 1926, as well as an eave that stretches out prominently. The arcades on the east and south sides of the building have the same layout of six bays in width, featuring round arches on the first floor and flat beams on the second floor.

     

    The main building features a simple façade with clear distinctions between primary and secondary elements, which basically conforms to the composition principles of pursuing formal beauty in Beaux-Arts architecture. In terms of decorative materials, the outer wall is built with layered roughcast blocks; the intersections of the roof are decorated with wreath motifs made of plaster, and there are also wood carvings of various patterns. The external windows and balustrades are embellished with Western iron openwork, and the ground is paved with colourful cement bricks, stained glass mosaic patterns and cement seams. In terms of decorative themes, the building generally features a Western style, which is reflected in many details such as the louver windows (doors), fireplace, plaster cornices, pediment and window casing. Among the decorative wood carvings, Chinese traditional motifs can be seen in many of the surrounds, wall ornaments and other details, such as the auspicious double phoenixes on the stair corner platform, which are produced with exquisite craftsmanship. The bronze handrails on both sides at the start of the staircase and the openwork lampshade above resembling those in traditional Chinese buildings reflect the typical decorative style of the mansions owned by Chinese businesspeople back then, and serve as important references for the research of the villa residences and the decorative style of the mansions owned by Chinese businesspeople in Macao in the early 20th Century.


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