Malta Architect Awards 2018

During a special ceremony that was held at Hilton Malta the nine winners of the Malta Architect Award categories were announced.  

The Awards, organised by iMNG ltd and sponsored by the Planning Authority seek to recognise local expertise in the professions of architecture, civil engineering and interior design and showcase those projects, which today are positively contributing towards quality design in our streetscapes and urban context.

1. REHABILITATION AND CONSERVATION AWARD

The Award was won by Perit Edwin Mintoff for the rehabilitation and conservation of Domus Zammitello. Palazzo Zamitello was a splendid palatial townhouse in Valletta dating back to the 17th century, which over the years was split into various sub-units and tenancies. The Palazzo is on a landmark corner site along Republic Street and adjoining Old Opera House ruins. The comprehensive and meticulous restoration of the interiors, the main reception room with the decorative suspended soffit, the courtyard etc is to be commended. The exterior facades were also restored and the new extension was in keeping with, and respectful of the surrounding urban context. The project was obviously a labour of love for all involved. The boutique hotel contributes in a significant manner to the enhancement and urban renewal of Valletta.

The special commendations went to:

Perit Edward Said for the Restoration of the Royal Gazebo, Villa Frere. This project deserved a commendation because of its diligent restoration work was undertaken by a number of volunteers in the gardens and structures within the grounds of Villa Hookham Frere. The Royal Gazebo has been restored in accordance with the highest standards of restoration retaining the original stonework and only replacing the severely deteriorated stone.

Dr. Antoine Zammit for the  Restoration of a private residence in Mellieha. This project deserved a commendation because of its sensitive restoration of a small townhouse in respecting the traditional materials and local building systems. The original structure and character of the dwelling were respected and the new interventions were understated and joined seamlessly with the original structure. The design exhibited maturity and brought back to life a derelict building replete with traditional architectural features.

2. URBAN DESIGN AWARD

The Award was won by Perit Keith Cole for Binja Laparelli – Central Bank of Malta, Valletta. This is a building complex within a highly sensitive location as part of the 16th-century land-front fortifications of Valletta. It required then total demolition and redevelopment of prior structures that had no historic value. The new building was approached as a sensitive insertion within a very restricted space embedded within the fortifications. It was of prime importance that the new structure would not intrude on the fortification lines as viewed from outside. The building was designed in such a manner as to be “discovered” as opposed to being readily visible from all viewpoints. The choice of materials is also commendable with the ample use of local globigerina limestone, local hardstone, and travertine which compliment the fortifications.

3. PUBLIC OPEN SPACES AWARD

The Award was won by Perit Eric Gerardi for the Triton Square project, Valletta/Floriana. This project transformed the area from a chaotic and dangerous bus terminus to a fully pedestrianized open space befitting the entrance to the capital city, Valletta. The design also comprised the area known as Ta’ Biskuttin and the full restoration of the iconic Tritons’ fountain to its former splendor. 

The special commendations went to:

Perit Edward Scerri for the Xaghra network of Leisure Parks, Gozo and the other to Divine Mercy Cemetery Nadur, Gozo. The initiative of the Xaghra Local Council in pursuing an integrated and strategic vision for the entire village, creating a trail of small public spaces which were transformed into belvederes, play areas and relaxation. Although not groundbreaking in terms of design, nevertheless the linked projects contribute in a beneficial way to the quality of life of the community. The second commendation in this category goes to the Divine Mercy Cemetery at Nadur, Gozo. In its considerations, the jury acknowledged the concerns regarding the environmental impact of locating a cemetery complex within an open rural setting. The jury considered that working within the special constraints of the site the architect nonetheless managed to produce a well-articulated scheme


4. COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS AWARD

The Award was won by Periti Joe Cassar and Philip Micallef for their project “Is-Suq tal-Belt. This project relates to the total rehabilitation and remodeling of the obsolete and derelict Valletta market hall. The regeneration scheme is inspired by the original Zimelli market place from the mid-19th century, transforming it into a thriving commercial hub in the centre of Valletta. The project has generated a considerable number of visitors, locals and tourists alike, to the centre of the city. The project is a highly complex one and has undoubtedly made a major positive contribution to the enhancement of the quality of experience of visiting Valletta.

The special commendation went to:

Daniele Milgiorisi for Anthea Preziosi outlet, Ragusa Italy. This project deserved a commendation because of its elegant and sophisticated design particularly in terms of its external appearance based on a simple grid-based cubic form, clarity of composition, selection and detailing of materials. The integration of trees at the upper level relieving the orthogonal austerity of the form was also commended.

5.INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE AWARD FOR COMMERCIAL PROJECTS

The Award was won by Perit Adrian Mangion of the arch+architects design studio for Noni Restaurant in Valletta. In spite of the small scale of the restaurant, the architect was capable of creating an appealing ambiance that respected the historical authenticity and memory of the place. The understated interventions and the quality of detailing were commended by the jury.

The special commendations went to:

Keith Pillow for the Bottone outlet, in Milan and the other to Rocksalt St Julians. Both these two projects deserved a commendation because of the way the designer handled the different requirements.  The “Bottone” outlet in Milan was a sleek, sophisticated and elegant design while the Rocksalt project in St Julian’s was handled in a skillful and competent manner and transformed a restricted interior space into an attractive and welcoming space.

6. INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE AWARD FOR RESIDENTIAL PROJECTS

The Award was won by Perit Rebecca Zammit for The Long House, Zurrieq. This was an excellent design solution that transformed the constraint of a restricted narrow space into an opportunity for a unique design solution. The jury was particularly impressed with the successful articulation and juxtaposition of different materials as well as the treatment of suspended soffits and the elegant handling of natural light in the interior.


7. HOSPITALITY TOURISM ACCOMMODATION AND LEISURE PROJECTS AWARD

The award was won by Perit Ray Demicoli for St Paul’s Boutique hotel, Valletta. In the jury’s opinion here was a scheme which, whilst respecting the original structure also celebrated the new interventions with a wonderfully streamlined and sculptural staircase. The restored internal yard is the hub and heart of the boutique hotel. The finishes were very well considered and were conducive to creating a pleasant and hospitable environment. This project is a case study of excellence in the design of boutique hotels favoring quality over the maximization of rentable internal space.

The special commendation went to:

Perit Simon Grech for the Infame Restaurant. This project deserved a commendation because it was impressed with the clarity and creativity of the design scheme that shows a clear distinction between the modular historic structure and the new interventions as expressed in a strict modular metal grid. Moreover, the concept of total reversibility was deemed to be a highly positive element in the scheme.


8. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AWARD

The award was won by Perit Christian Spiteri for The Umbrella House. The Jury noted with satisfaction the holistic approach adopted to integrate high-performance building envelope measures, together with energy efficient systems. Emphasis was placed on not causing undue physical disturbances to the surroundings, and by ensuring higher comfort levels to the occupants and reducing the need for lighting, heating, and cooling which forms the bulk of energy consumption at home

The special commendation went to:

Dr Edwin Mintoff for the Marsaxlokk Surface Car Park by Dr Edwin Mintoff. this project deserved a commendation because it noted the efforts made by the Marsaxlokk Local Council and their architect in creating a best practice role model for other communities in the reuse of material and water harvesting.

9. EMERGING ARCHITECT AWARD

The award was won by Perit Bernard Vella for his project Country home. From an emerging architect, this is a mature and elegant scheme, which demonstrates respect for the vernacular character of the original bu8ilding envelope and rural context within the scenic countryside. The alterations to the exterior are well considered and restrained permitting full legibility as to the interface between the original structure and the new interventions. The interior spaces are entirely new but well integrated within this existing building envelope. The design produced a well-articulated sequence of internal spaces, permeability between inside and outside, clear visual sight lines and emphasis on the introduction of natural light.