The Historic Centre of Macao is a living representation of the city's historic settlement, encompassing 22 outstanding examples of architectural legacies interwoven in the original urban fabric that includes streetscapes and urban squares.
Among existing residential complexes in Macao, theMandarin's House (Zheng Guanying's Family House) is the largest in scale.
The Mandarin's House has the characteristics of traditional Guangdong's residences. Yet, it also features a fusion of architectural influences from western cultures, making it a unique product of Chinese and western cultural interchange.
The Mandarin's House has high humanistic values. Zheng Guanying, a late-Qing celebrity, completed the acclaimed masterpiece Shengshi Weiyan (Words of Warning in Times of Prosperity) in this house.
Zheng Wenrui, the father of Zheng Guanying, initiated the building of theMandarin's House . Following the couplets inside the house, the construction work might have started by the eighth year of the reign of Emperor Tongzhi, i.e. year 1869.The expansions were done by Zheng Guanying and his brothers, from which the complex gradually enlarged.
In the past, the Mandarin's House had an unobstructed view towards the Inner Habour and the hills across the river; the hustle and bustle of boats and ships coming in and out of the habour was the picturesque scene inhabitants here once enjoyed.
The Mandarin's House is very large, occupying an area of 4000m2 on which are buildings and open spaces designed in various architectural styles. The entire complex has more than 60 rooms in total. A private residence for one family of such scale is rare in Macao.
Around 1950's to 1960's, the descendents of the Zheng's family moved out to live in different places. The Mandarin's House was then rented out. At one time, there were more than 300 tenants packed inside the complex, constituting to poor living conditions.
The carrying capacity of the complex was pushed to limits. Building modifications, on top of everyday wear and tear began to cause damage to the architecture. The lack of daily maintenance and fire attacks brought further destructions. When the government got proprietorship of the property in 2001, more than 80% of the architecture was suffering from different degrees of damage. Alterations done by tenants also brought challenges in recovering the original appearance of the mansion.
Since 2002, the government began to conduct step by step conservation work on the Mandarin's House. Rigorous studies were followed by careful restoration work. After 8 years of continuous efforts, the conservation works are completed, with the basic original image of the complex being presented.