Casa de Lou Kau

inside the roomCasa de Lou Kau, a two-storey grey brick house, is one of the very few Xiguan-style mansions still standing in Macau, and a prime example of the mixed Chinese and Western architectural styles unique to Macau. The location of this grand old house depicts the diverse social profile present in the centre of the old “Christian City”, where this traditional Chinese residence locate on one of the alleys close to the Senate Square.

Built in 1889, Casa de Lou Kau was the home of Lou Kau, a prominent Chinese merchant who owned several imposing properties in the city. Although Casa de Lou Kau is a typical Chinese house, the ornamentation shows that elements of Western design are incorporated. The oyster shell windows, hanging scrolls, plaster molding and brick carvings are commonly found in the central Guangdong Province. The façade has a recessed entrance which creates an overhanging eave to provide shelter during bad weather while at the same time protects the relief frieze decorations from the elements. This design is common in the houses from the Lingnan region. While false ceilings, stained glass Manzhou windows and cast iron railings similar to those on Macau's churches, are Western characteristics.

The house has a symmetric arrangement, organized in a three-by-three grid of spaces. The two courtyards in the central axis separate the three main halls, namely the Entrance Hall, the Tea Hall and the Senior Hall on ground level. This spatial arrangement demonstrates the hierarchical structure of Chinese families where the spaces further inside the house are reserved for senior members, and are more private, away from the view of guests. Despite the fact a lot of time and money was spent on workmanship, the Casa de Lou Kau actually fell into disrepair in the 1970s with up to 20 families living in it at one point in time.

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