Former Valletta slaughter house being transformed into facility for artists and aspiring designers
It was built almost 400 years ago by the Knights in a zone behind the Auberge de Baviere, in the lower part of Valletta. For a time the building was used as a slaughter house, then as barracks for soldiers and later as a small industrial space for bread-baking in eight ovens. In more recent times it was inhabited.
This historic building is now being transformed into a facility for artists and new designers and when the work has been completed it will become the Valletta Design Cluster. Structural work was boosted in March earlier this year as explained by the project’s architect Amanda Degiovanni.
Architect Degiovanni said that ceilings in bad condition have been fixed as well as ceilings that had collapsed; deteriorated stonework has been restored and now the final phase is in sight. Much restoration has also taken place on the building’s facade.
Ms Degiovanni said that over the next two weeks the second part of the project will commence and will consist of the provision of services as well as the regeneration of the zone around the building.
Basically this will mean infrastructure being laid underneath roads and all the paving stones around the building will be replaced.
One of the greatest headaches has been the provision of access for all.
Project Leader, Caldon Mercieca, said the project is expected to be completed by the end of next year and expenses are expected to reach €8 million that includes a contribution from EU funds. He said the building will offer working space for young artists to help them set the foundations of their career at a time when their income is highly restricted and they cannot afford to pay for working space.
He said this will include the provision of new tools and people who will train those who wish to use them to construct models in metal and wood.
There will also be studios for use by artists or by groups operating in the cultural and creative sectors and thus they will have longer-term space that may be utilised for a year and even two.
The project will also have a public garden on the roof and this will fit in with the designs of the Corporation for the Regeneration of the Grand Harbour (GHRC) and this will give a new lease of life to the lower part of Valletta.