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    Fieldtrip to Malta

    By 123arch
    Oct 20, '10 4:34 AM EST

    I'm writing from Malta. We are on the final week of our 2 week field trip to Valletta. Similar to last year in Sarajevo our aim in this trip is to pursue our interest(building program) and to find a site where we would like to spend the next semester researching and preparing material for our thesis project during the second semester. It's a very ambitious but exciting task. The city of Valletta is a limestone fortress surrounded by two harbours and the Mediterranean sea. Valletta is only 0.3 sq mi, is highly dense at about 19,000 inhabitants per sq mi. This gives a population of around 6,000 people. There are other cities across from Valletta and around the coast which creates a larger urban area of around 350,000 inhabitants. It is one of the most dense islands in the world. Valletta's Grand Harbour has been the scene for some of the most important naval battles in history. The strategic location of the Island has attracted a whole range of civilizations, including the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Fatimids, the Knights of st john, the French, the British among others. In present time Malta is part of the EU and since 1964 it has been independent from Great Britain.
    It's a land rich in history and it's evident everywhere you go. Fortifications defined the area of the older cities, while residential mid rise towers define the skyline of the newer cities.
    We had our first pin-up on Monday, on an improvised terrace at one of the hotels where we are staying. Most of us seem to be set on an specific site but most are still deciding on a building program. This semester I will be researching on the "star fort" typology and aiming to study extinct building typologies. The design challenge will be to define a process of transforming this typology into a contemporary building type that will have an equal predominant function in the urban context. I chose Fort Ricasoli as my site. This complex fort was built in 1670 by the Knights of St. John to reinforce the defense mechanism of Malta's Grand Harbour. This large structure is currently used for filming productions. Blockbusters such as Gladiator and Troy were partially filmed here. The current state of this fort is a fascinating combination of the decaying 17th century structure covered by thin board structure recreating different periods of time. Two of the structures that became permanent fixtures on this site are a roman amphitheater and also a row of roman villas that recreate a street at a roman town. I'm currently drawing this juxtaposition of conditions which seem to create a dialogue between this two conditions, the decaying 17th century structure with the decaying short life structure of a set design. I'm not sure where this research will take me but it's very exciting and speculative.
    My other classmates are dealing with a variety of topics such as the restoration of the old quarantine hospital and perhaps the proposed use will be dealing now with the yacht maintenance industry in Malta. Another classmate is dealing with a center for African immigrants, which is a highly controversial issue.
    I'll post more information on our projects as we further develop them through the semester. Below are some images of Malta. Before heading back to Copenhagen I'll be stopping by to visit the Venice Biennial. I'll post some images next week.

    image
    View to Valletta

    image
    Maltese balconies

    image
    Old Quarantine House



     
    • 3 Comments

    • fbarboza82

      Wow that looks amazing! I can't wait for the next update.

      Oct 20, 10 4:53 am
      Lian Chikako Chang

      Nice place for a pin-up.

      Oct 20, 10 3:32 pm
      Luis Bustamante

      could you post some pictures of the fort?

      Oct 21, 10 11:56 am

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