Construction Preparation of Macao Science Center
In October 2001, based on the tenet to promote, develop or study cultural, social, economic, education, science, academy and charity activities as well as to publicize Macao, Vitor Ng, Chairman, Administrative Council of the Macao Foundation, urged the establishment of the Feasibility Study Group for Macao Youth Technology Museum, in order to understand the actual demand on the construction of a science and technology center in Macao, and assigned Lam, Kam Seng Peter and Ho Kuai Leng, members of the Macao Foundation to responsible for the preparation regarding the establishment of the Study Group.
In his Policy Address 2002 published on November 20, 2001, the Chief Executive, Mr. Edmund Ho, disclosed: “Several departments of the government are planning and search for a place to build a new youth technology museum with the objective to provide a facility where youngsters will be able to broaden their minds in a friendly, happy environment, while gaining more knowledge of the cutting edge technologies that drive our world today”, and it will be a “place with integrated function for learning, rest and amusement, and a good place for students and citizens to spend their leisure time”.
In November 2001, the Study Group worked out a timetable for the preparation of the feasibility study report on the first preparatory meeting, and finalized the expert panel which comprised of Tong Chi Kin, Heidi Ho, Li Yiping, Tang Zesheng, José Chui Sai Peng, Kuan Victor Manuel, Leong Lai, Wei Huiliang, Lawrence VK Tou, Wong Kuok Keong and Zhao Xinli. Up to the beginning of 2002, the Study Group had sent representatives to visit many science centers in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Hong Kong, the United States as well as Canada one after another, and collected data from a large quantity of science centers. The Study Group acquired normative documents regarding the construction of science center from institutes such as the UNESCO, associations of science and technology centers, and received large quantity of reference information from China Science & Technology Museum, Education and Youth Affairs Bureau, as well as Macau Productivity and Technology Transfer Center (MPTTC). Upon extensive consultation with teacher representatives, middle and primary schools, and youth groups in Macao, the Study Group unanimously believed that Macao has the demand and the condition to build a science center of international level. Macao Science Center, except the three main functions of promoting popular science education for youth in Macao, promoting the development of tourism as well as conference and exhibition industry in Macao, shall be more a symbolic building in Macao so as to promote the international fame of Macao.
Therefore, the Administrative Council of the Macao Foundation and representatives from the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) government visited the United States in March 2002 to invite Mr. I.M.Pei and Pei Partnership Architects to design the Macao Science Center. “Mr. Pei has a strong sense of his Chinese heritage and has attached importance to the Chinese nation. He was moved by the sincerity of the government of MSAR as well as the Macao Foundation in one hand. In the other hand, he has a desire to do something for China. Therefore, he accepted the design assignment as a support to the new born MSAR.” Recalled Lam, Kam Seng Peter, member of the Administrative Council of the Macao Foundation, regarding the meeting with Mr. Pei in the United States.
In April of the same year, Mr. I.M.Pei together with Li Chung Pei, President of Pei Partnership Architects, traveled to Macao for visiting and site selection, and decided to reclaim 20,000 square meters of land from the sea in the opposite of the Cultural Center to build Macao Science Center and its support facilities. “Macao’s history is closely linked with water. Therefore, choose waterside as the site for the science center has special meaning. In addition, both the science center and the cultural center are infrastructure in cultural aspect, which can be mutual supplemented and reflected each other both in function and objective.” Said Vitor Ng, Chairman, Administrative Council of the Macao Foundation in quoting Mr. I.M.Pei’s concept on site selection.
Vitor Ng, Chairman, Administrative Council of the Macao Foundation, Lam, Kam Seng Peter, member of the Administrative Council, Mr. I.M.Pei and Mr. Li Chung Pei signed concept design and construction engineering contract for Macao Science Center in the Notarization Office of Financial Service Bureau, MSAR, on September 26, 2002. The Council of Curators of the Macao Foundation also passed the concept design scheme for Macao Science Center prepared by Mr. I.M.Pei and Pei Partnership Architects on February 26, 2003.
In order to well prepare the construction as well as operation and management of Macao Science Center, Macao Science Center Limited was officially established on June 9, 2005. Shareholders of the company include the Macao Foundation, the MPTTC and the Science and Technology Development Fund.
Construction and Completion of Macao Science Center
The reclamation works of Macao Science Center as well as its support facilities was officially kicked off on December 1, 2005 and completed in the end of September 2006. On October 19 of the same year, Edmund Ho, the Chief Executive of MSAR, presided the groundbreaking ceremony for Macao Science Center, which marked the official start construction of Macao Science Center. Through over 3 years of construction and preparation, Macao Science Center was completed in 2009.