Upon arrival at Ferreira do Amaral roundabout, it’s difficult to miss the deconstructed geometric-like building on the other side of Hotel Lisboa. Yes, we’re talking about Starworld Hotel, a beautiful structure facing the lakes and the main bridge. StarWorld Hotel, designed by Hong Kong architect Rocco Yim, turned out to be one of the most interesting architectural projects in Macau, even though it had a much smaller projection than all the other integrated casino resorts finished at the time of its inauguration.
Its construction was interesting for a number of reasons: its design wasn’t inspired by any other existing casino-related construction outside of Macau plus, there was a highly recognized Hong Kong-based architect behind the conceptual plan. Rocco Yim has a post-modern Chinese identity and recognition in the region and overseas for his projects and awards. The building itself has a series of characteristics that are highly appealing, such as its volumetry and functionality as well.
Furthermore, although having its own singular identity, StarWorld Hotel tried to respond, with the interlocking rectangular forms that shape it, to the surrounding typology of rectangular building blocks. This is unlike some other projects before and after it, iconic buildings that sometimes ignore the pre-existing regionality, history, and identity, sometimes affecting the everyday urban dynamics.
The functionality referred is easily observed. The podium between the first and the fourth floors is used for the mass gaming area, while the block from the fifth to the 15th floor is occupied by VIP and mass gaming, and all hotel supporting facilities. At last, floors 16 to 36 are destined for accommodation.
In addition to functionality, Yim looked to highlight other aspects. According to information on the architect’s website, “The contrast of fluidity and rectangularity, opaque-ness and transparency, dynamism and stability is a key to the design, which evokes a sense of surrealism and adventure associated with the nature of entertainment. The building design not only relates to the functional use but also intends to create a unique identity amongst the numerous casinos in Macau.”
Who is Rocco Yim?
Rocco Yim is a Chinese architect based in Hong Kong. He opened his own practice in 1979, co-founding Rocco Design Partners in 1982. After that, he won several awards. These include a First Prize Award for the L’Opéra de la Bastille international competition in 1983, ARCASIA Gold Medals in 1994 and 2003, the Chicago Athenaeum Architectural Awards in 2006, 2011, and 2013, the Kenneth F. Brown Award in 2007, and the World Architecture Festival category winner in 2011.
Rocco Yim is responsible for a wide number of projects especially in Hong Kong and Guangdong such as the Hong Kong SAR Government Headquarters, iSQUARE, One Peking Road, the Yunnan Museum, and the Guangdong Museum.