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Marsascala’s oldest building set for demolition

The Planning Authority has approved the demolition of Marsascala’s oldest building to make way for a restaurant and a new dwelling

james
James Debono
21 June 2017, 12:34pm
What is possibly Marascala’s oldest building, dating back more than 100 years, is set for demolition
What is possibly Marascala’s oldest building, dating back more than 100 years, is set for demolition
The Planning Authority has approved the demolition of what is reputed to be Marsascala’s oldest building.

The building will be demolished to make way for a restaurant and a new dwelling. 

Despite objections by a number of residents who called for the preservation of the old building which stands as a reminder of how Marsascala looked a a century ago, the demolition has been given the clearance by the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage.

The case officer recommended the approval despite reservations on the design expressed by the Design Advisory Committee, which called for a design which is “more in keeping with the context.”

But the Planning Directorate  described the current building “as the last remnant of a long stretch of similarly unassuming buildings which used to characterise this waterfront” adding that it has no “intrinsic architectural value”. 

The surrounding context is even described as drab, with a series of “mediocre run-of-the-mill three and four storey buildings flanking the site”.

“It is within this context that the possibility of a stand-alone replacement building was discussed with the architect.” 

The old building will be replaced wit a restaurant and dwelling of a “post-modern hybrid design, with broadstroke, unsubtle hints of minimalist simplicity”
The old building will be replaced wit a restaurant and dwelling of a “post-modern hybrid design, with broadstroke, unsubtle hints of minimalist simplicity”
The case officer also praised the design presented by the architect describing it as a “ post-modern hybrid design, partly reminiscent of early 20th century cubist architecture, with broadstroke, unsubtle hints of minimalist simplicity”.  

It also praised the use of large swathes of solid mass, which are occasionally punctured by glass openings of simple geometric form, allow for the penetration of natural light where it is most required. 

According to the case officer, the proposal conforms with this guidance set in the Development Control guidelines issued in 2015 “which encourages high quality, innovative and architectural designs that respect and enrich their surrounding contexts”. 

The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage concurred that “the existing building is rather plain and has no outstanding architectural features” and therefore it “did not object to the demolition of this building”.

But the PA also received 18 different objections from a number of residents objecting to the demolition of the old building.

The Marsascala council also objected, describing the building in question as one of the oldest buildings in the village, probably dating to even more than 100 years. It called on the case officer to conduct proper research to ascertain when the building was constructed and whether it should be preserved as local heritage.

james
James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...
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