Last Updated on Wednesday, 4 January, 2023 at 2:15 pm by Andre Camilleri
A planning application seeks to replace a building in St Julian’s that was designed by Richard England with a ten-storey hotel.
The application proposes the demolition of the existing premises and the construction of a new office and hotel, which includes the following ancillary facilities; a restaurant and kitchen preparation area at basement level, a double height reception lobby and bar at ground floor, 67 overlying suites plus pool and decking area at roof level.
The site has an area of 233.66 sqm.
The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage said that the building in question is one of a series of Mid-Med Bank branches designed by Richard England in the 1960s and 70s. “The site is also within 13m of the grade 1 Spinola Palace and gardens and bears onto the Urban Conservation Area (UCA) to the rear. Due to the site’s location within an urban context predating the Second World War, public air raid shelters are likely to be present in the area. Air-raid shelters are cultural heritage features and should be treated in keeping with the Cultural Heritage Act 2019.”
The Superintendence, along with the Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee (CHAC), noted with concern that the application is proposing the total demolition of a building “of evident architectural value as well as a considerable increase in height bearing onto a grade 1 property and UCA.”
The Superintendence, along with the CHAC, object to the total demolition and recommend that the existing facade is retained and integrated in a revised proposal.
“The proposed extension is to be constructed in a manner that respects the modernist architecture of the existing building.”
The Superintendence, along with CHAC, also recommend a reduction in the overall height of the building, noting that the considerable increase as currently proposed will have an unacceptable impact on the scheduled complex as well as on the UCA to the rear of the site.
Din l-Art Ħelwa has strongly objected to the application.
“The building proposed for demolition is itself an example of regional modernism designed by Richard England in the 1960s and of heritage value in its own right. This building is reflective of the Modernist period and has a degree of architectural style, its facade is indicative of regional modernism through its adaptation to the Maltese urbanscape and part of the architectural history of the Maltese islands. There is no justification for its demolition which is objectionable in principle. “