"The Idea of Architecture in the Chinese Academic Field: the Construction of the Platform for Protection of Cultural Heritage" by Francesco Maglioccola (马方济)

"Heritage Policies in Macau: a Selective Legacy for the Future" by Francisco Pinheiro, presented by Diogo Teixeira


  • 27 November 2013


  • Macau Ricci Institue


  • 18:00 to 21:30


  • Free


  • English

Audio Record of this Seminar




Prof FRANCESCO MAGLIOCCOLA (Chinese name MA FANGJI), was born in Italy in 1963, and since 2005 has been a specialist in the field of communication between Asia and Europe, operating throughout Italy and China promoting culture, art and business cooperation. He holds an M.A. in Architecture and a Ph.D. in Architectural Drawing and Survey from University of Naples Federico II (Italy). Since February 2005, he is Assistant Professor at University of Naples Parthenope (Italy). Appointed honorary professor in engineering of the Henan Institute of Engineering, he is now visiting professor at the Yangtze Business University, Wuhan and at Wuchang University of Technology where he is active as a specialist in universities exchange programs. He has been an invited speaker in many international conferences in China, including the MRI, Macau. He is also director of the “Sino-Italian International Research Center for Education” at Wuchang University of Technology. Prof. Maglioccola organizes many activities on Italian language courses, art exhibitions etc., for the promotion of Italian culture in Wuhan.



Prof FRANCISCO VIZEU PINHEIRO is a practicing architect, researcher and professor. Graduated in 1984 in Lisbon High Technical Institute, he received his doctorate degree of Engineering in Architecture and Building Engineering from the Graduate School of Engineering of Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan in 2006. Presently he is teaching full time at the University of Saint Joseph in Macau.

He has published in several research issues articles related to urban rehabilitation policies, architectural conservation, green environment and sustainability, cultural tourism, memory and cultural identity, including Role of the Iberian Institutions in the Evolution of Macao and Rehabilitation of Squares in Macao’s Historical Sites. He was involved in several urban rehabilitation projects located at the Historical Center of Macao. Several of the projects were included in 2005 in the UNESCO list of World Heritage.

He promotes more participation of the local communities in the preservation and planning process, advocating a proactive attitude. The process of heritage rehabilitation should be linked with the Asian traditions, thus avoiding imperialist style policies imported from the West, that established a criterion of authenticity based on a contemporary design process, in this way adulterating not only the context and memory of the place, but the living tradition and cultural DNA of the city accumulated throughout the centuries.


Diogo Teixeira

Diogo Teixeira (Lisbon, 1969) is Senior Lecturer in the Architecture program within the Faculty of Creative Industries at the University of Saint Joseph. He holds degrees in civil engineering from the Technical University of Lisbon and urban design from the University of Paris, and is currently a doctoral candidate in architecture at the Technical University of Lisbon.

Since 1993, he collaborates in various projects in Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and Cape Verde. In 1996, he co-founded social innovation and design for sustainability practice Expoente where he developed projects such as idealidades (Lisbon, 1999), noite em branco (Antarctica, 2001), you are here | you are there (London, 2002), ENVELOP[p]ES (Jersey, 2003), and Soundtrack (Guimarães, 2012). In 2003, he became a partner of spatial agency practice A Cidade e as Terras, which acts from territorial planning to urban design and building technology scales.

He is also a committed educator. Between September 2008 and August 2010 he was president of the Autonomous Polytechnic Institute, where he implemented the epic® (education for polytechnic innovation and creativity) pedagogy. At the University of Saint Joseph he teaches planning for urban conservation and sustainability, social and environmental impact assessment, and construction technology, and has been involved in the program's strategy and curriculum reform.

Teixeira is an active researcher with a particular interest in event-based design strategies, emotion and public space, namely understanding how architecture results in the enhancement of place attachment. He conducted research in the Institut d'Urbanisme de Paris (France) and in the Laboratori d'Urbanisme of the Polythecnical University of Catalonia (Spain).


The Idea of Architecture in the Chinese Academic Field: the Construction of a Platform for the Protection of Cultural Heritage

At the core of any transformation process there is knowledge, scientific knowledge that leads to the best course of action; this also applies to activities that are changing the appearance of our cities. Prior to any change there should be critical analysis of action and consideration of all possible benefits from it. The process is then dictated by wisdom before action. Unfortunately, in urban planning or the conservation of heritage sites and buildings, there is frequently a business process in which everything has an economic value. This monetary consideration is often given priority over other aspects that may limit profit. It focuses on the need to increase the rate of income and profit more than improve the conditions of life of a community. In these operations more investments are made to recruit technicians who assess the quality of a new construction driven almost exclusively by the economic and commercial attractiveness of the project than in preservation of cultural heritage. This attitude results in huge built-up areas which are mainly investments in real estate. When the pre-existing historical value of a place or building is seen as an obstacle to development, these are eliminated or are "marked ", or in the worst case used as trophies and promoted as "cultural heritage" as main tourist attractions that have nothing to do with the conservation of cultural heritage. They are often named "cultural street", "old city centre" or "ancient building", with a license plate that testifies to the inclusion of the item in the list of protected buildings, but these places are used as backgrounds to take pictures and not to increase the historical knowledge of citizens or visitors, or to truly convey the ancient social values attached to these architectures. Efforts at true conservation are rarely recognized and only a few cases can be described as successful role models. It is therefore in training new professionals who will have the ability to know how to design the new but who can also "interpret" old architecture, that change may be achieved. We should be aware that the students of today will be the administrators and technicians of tomorrow who will become the defenders of a social welfare that is not only material, but is mainly composed of "cultural values". This requires a vibrant educational process within the institutions of learning that will have to assume a stronger role in social construction. This equally applies to controllers and proponents of transformations that will give priority to a community’s true "lifestyle", rather than a fashionable "architectural style".

Heritage Policies in Macau: a Selective Legacy for the Future

Heritage protection measures in Macau started during the 1950’s. They were considered for many as a colonialist nostalgia process, being ignored by most population that was not born in Macau and strongly opposed by local businessmen that advocate the sacrifice, the destruction of heritage for the sake of urban development. Only in 1982 with the creation of the Cultural Institute, gradually, the concern of heritage was brought to the local population. However top-down decisions with little participation and consultation of local community are common practices still.

After the 2005 UNESCO classification of the Historical Center of Macau (HCM) as part of World Heritage, a large number of structures of historical buildings were demolished inside and outside of the HCM and replaced by real estate enterprises, thus boycotting the Central Government mandate for diversification and regional plan for the Pearl River Delta, that visions Macao as a “World Center for Tourism and Leisure”.

How effective are heritage laws and current “preservation” practices? Based on case-by-case analysis, it is apparent that the emergence of different criteria and approaches for the rehabilitation of western and Chinese buildings results either in the total protection and restoration of the building or just saving the facades. What is the criterion why certain sites are condemned to be erased, while others are selected for preservation, providing in this way a beautiful but deceiving memory and image of the past?