American University buildings will reflect the past historic appearance of Cospicua Wharf
By September of next year buildings along the Cospicua Dock will resemble more Cospicua Wharf as it was in the past. Project architect Dr Edwin Mintoff explained to tvm.com.mt that extensive research had been undertaken to ensure that restoration and regeneration works will retain the historic value of the area including their industrial and architectural histories as these buildings were part of the Malta Dockyard.
In four months restoration work on the facade of the building known as ‘The British Building’ near Cospicua Dock were completed, one of two buildings that will house the American University in Malta.
Architect Mintoff recounted to tvm.com.mt the process had been meticulous and involved not only the restoration of stone but also the removal of all traces of asbestos.
He said the work was highly specialised, including removals and disposal and only experienced and licenced contractors in such operations had been chosen to carry out the works.
The Planning Authority has just authorised the project to advance to its second stage which will require a number of interventions. According to the architect these will reflect the building’s original architecture before part of it was devastated during the Second World War.
He said intense research work had been carried out as to how the building looked in its original state so that this could be fully reproduced to its original structure.
The same work process will be used on the other building, the “Knights’ Building”.
Dr Mintoff explained that one of the main challenges was that the building which is over 170 years old will reflect its industrial heritage but it will also be transformed into a modern university.
He said being able to merge contemporary requirements into an old building and continue to retain the aspect of the original building is a very difficult task. However, it is also a highly satisfactory process to appreciate the great difficulties our forefathers faced when they managed to construct such a majestic building which forms an integral part of Malta’s architectural history.
Besides this delicate work on the two buildings, the project will also take parking into account as well as the embellishment of the zone and there are hopes all the work will be completed by September of next year.