Biblioteca Central de Macau
Macau Central Library

Macau SAR of PRC

Oscar Wilde once said that any map of the world that did not include Utopia was not worth glancing at. The ability to imagine new and better worlds and the restless desire to seek them out, he suggested, was the source of all progress.

Recurrently libraries have been iconographed in structures sided by large columns symbolizing gateways for new worlds.



The Bookcase, the facade in the Golden Section Progression

Sun blinds named as book bands

Two bands of the Axial Age, by Karl Jasper, are geometric origin of the Golden Section Progression of The Bookcase elevation

They mark the end of an asymmetrical axis corridor  that crosses the whole Library









Auditoria, as a depiction of The Passarola


The Passarola, by father Bartolomeu de Gusmão

Bartolomeu Lourenço de Gusmão was born in December 1685 in Santos, Brazil. He studied in Belém, Baía, joined the Society of Jesus and moved permanently to Lisbon in 1708. Also in Brazil, excelled as an inventor, having built a hydraulic pump that raised the water from the river to the seminary where he studied.

In 1709 had the idea of building a flying machine, and sent a petition to king João V for a patent on the income of an "instrument invented to walk the air". The document lists the advantages of the future development of his invention, both for communication and for the war and trade. It is known that the king favourably dispatched the petition.

In the same year, in the first days of August, Bartolomeu made several experiments before the king and the court. He was able to elevate in the air "over twenty feet," in the words of a chronicler of the time, "a globe of thick paper, with a bowl with fire underneath." This statement is all that is known for certain about the experiences of Father Bartolomeu. Without known reason, the experiments ended, but not that they have been a total failure. The chroniclers are unanimous in describing the rise of these hot air balloons, which very surprised the audience.

Some say that the abandonment of the experiments was motivated by the tremendous ridicule that the ignorant and envious made of his invention.

Judging by the drawings that remain, and the documentation that survived the great earthquake of Lisbon in 1755, Bartolomeu de Gusmão was aboard his airship when she rose, becoming thus the first man in the world to rise in the air from a balloon.





The depiction resembles Elisha Otis demonstrating his elevator design with safety brakes at the1854 New York World’s Fair.





The fictional work of Azhar Abidi, Passarola Rising is a picaresque tale filled with evocative detail, adventure, and suspense, set in eighteenth-century Europe, which tells the story of Bartolomeu and his brother Alexandre Lourenço, who use their airship, the Passarola, as it became known from a humoristic depiction of the engine at the time, to escape the strictures of the Church, the suspicion of the government, and the intellectually stultifying climate of Lisbon.



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