Central Bank’s Laparelli building, Macina and Coach House scoop architectural awards

Din l-Art Helwa celebrates the best of Maltese architecture…

Exterior of the Binja Laparelli
Exterior of the Binja Laparelli

The 13th edition of the Din l-Art Helwa Awards for Architectural Heritage has awarded its top honour to Bezzina & Cole Architects for its regeneration of the Laparelli building at the Central Bank in Valletta.

The jury was unanimous in its decision to award the Prix d’Honneur for Category A – a Major Regeneration Project, to “Binja Laparelli” by Bezzina & Cole Architects & Civil Engineers.

The judges said this new building had successfully achieved its scope while respecting the context of the fortifications. “Of particular note was the discreet rational approach, yet imaginative design in the stone screen created on the Bank’s façade, and the integration of the design elements to complement the exterior walkway, and the historical structures.”

The jury was composed of Dr Conrad Thake from the Chamber of Architects, Dr Antonio Mollicone from the University of Malta, and Din l-Art Helwa Council Member Perit Joanna Spiteri Staines, together with Perit David Pace. Din l-Art Helwa Executive President Maria Grazia Cassar chaired the jury.

The prize for Category B – The Rehabilitation and Re-Use of Buildings was awarded to Edwin Mintoff Architects for the Macina project, which the judges  felt was setting an example in the rehabilitation and re-use of military buildings.

“This project achieved the necessary luxury for its new use as a high-end guest house, while the overall design concept retained the military functional feel of the building’s previous use, especially in the staircase and the courtyard,” the jury said. 

In Category C - A Restoration and Conservation Project the prize was awarded to The Coach House by David Drago of Architecture Project. “The intervention and extension upon the existing building consisted of a stone volume above the existing fabric. The limestone façade, detailed to mimic a weaved pattern, created a surface of changing shadows echoing the irregular surfaces of the historical walls below.”

The Silver Medal prize was also awarded to The Coach House, because of the success of this project in creating a harmonious intervention with the simple historical fabric of the existing farmhouse.

The awards reward projects which an outstanding and significant contribution to architectural excellence in a Maltese context, with a focus on regeneration, re-use and conservation.

Chairman Maria Grazia Cassar expressed  satisfaction at having witnessed great strides in the achievement of such objectives in the varied projects that had won the award over the years. “The competition has contributed to the positive appreciation of the value of Malta’s built heritage.”