Prestigious MASP Awards reveal Malta’s top architectural and interior design projects for 2021

Perit Konrad Buhagiar receives the President’s award

Perit Konrad Buhagiar
Perit Konrad Buhagiar

The Valletta Design Cluster, the Sterling HQ, the Imperial Residential Home and the Portomaso Laguna are some of the projects that took the top spots at the 2021 Malta Architecture and Spatial Planning (MASP) Awards held last Saturday night.

The MASP Awards, which are held under the Patronage of the President of Malta, aim to promote and give recognition to quality architectural and interior design projects that promise to leave a positive mark for decades to come. The awards celebrate the meticulous work and innovation of the people behind these iconic projects – from established professionals to graduating students.

This year, the prestigious President’s Award was conferred to Perit Konrad Buhagiar for his outstanding contribution to the education, theory and practice of architecture and his distinguished lifetime service towards the profession.

The Rehabilitation and Conservation Award was won by the Restoration Directorate for the Valletta Design Cluster. This project is praiseworthy for the manner with which a disused Grade 1 scheduled building within the heart of lower Valletta was rescued from obsolescence and given a new lease of life through sensitive adaptive reuse.

The House for two sisters in Senglea by MODEL Architects and Ċentru Parrokkjali Santu Rokku in Valletta by Perit Silvienne Camilleri received a special commendation.

AP Valletta won the Restoration Award for the Teatru Manoel in Valletta. This project illustrated that high-quality restoration can be achieved on the basis of extensive research into the history of the building as well as its socio-political and architectural context.  One of the key components of the project was the reconstruction of the façade in accordance with the original façade drawing within the eighteenth-century Vilhena Cabreo. Here, AP Valletta went further than mere reconstruction, but creatively suggested subtle changes to the facade to accommodate new elements which allow the façade to assume its historic prominence.

The restoration of the Belvedere in Lija by Perit Amanda De Giovanni and Concrete Water Tower in Marsa by Prof Perit Ruben Paul Borg were given a special commendation.

The Sterling HQ building in San Gwann by Christian Spiteri Architects was the winner of the Design Award for Good Architecture, Building and Structure. Although located within an industrial estate, this high-quality contemporary building is an ambitious attempt to reverse the nondescript architecture that characterises such places. The design is a play on visual lightness and heaviness that required the solution of several design challenges through structural design acumen.  Serving as a multifunctional space, the design has successfully addressed the client’s requirement for warehousing, manufacturing, exhibition spaces and offices within the same building.

A special commendation within this category was given to MODEL Architects for House 51 in Sliema and EM Architects for OneOneO in Gzira.

De Micoli & Associates won the Residential Architecture Award for the Portomaso Laguna. The project is a high-quality solution to a design brief that required the prioritisation of the waterside location. The project also showcases several energy efficient measures to minimise thermal transmittance through the building fabric including overhang shading to add support to the thermal performance of the specialised glass of the facades.

Marian’s Place in St.Paul’s Bay by MODEL Architects & CVC Architecture Studio, and Valuing the past/integrating the contemporary in Sliema by Studjurban received a special commendations.

The Public Open Space Award was won by the Restoration directorate and Tetsuo Kondo Architects for the Roof Garden and Green Wall at the Valletta Design Cluster. The project is a flagship example of what can be achieved with vision and resilience and is now a new public green space in Valletta. The soft landscaping was extensively researched to provide a sensory experience to the visitor, reflecting the typical colours, scents and characteristics of the Mediterranean scrub.

Chris Briffa Architects won the Commercial and Public Buildings Award for the SAW Factory and Offices in Qormi. Natural light, ventilation, thermal comfort, inspiring interiors and an iconic structure set to contrast with the industrial neighbourhood, were key factors in the innovative design.

The Interior Architecture Award for Residential Projects was won by Daniel Scerri Periti for Change in Direction. This residential transformation project is a lesson in the re-imagination of an existing space to create a home that meets the client’s needs in a very personal manner.

A special commendation was given to AP Valletta and Daniel Scerri Periti for a Valletta Townhouse and Zen in Żejtun respectively.

3DM Architecture were the winners of the Interior Architecture Award for Commercial & Public Buildings for their Portughes Outlet project in Swieqi. This project challenges the user to experience a new aesthetic for a laundromat, using untraditional colours through the use of contemporary materials in its design approach.

The Maltese Office in Marsa by MODEL Architects was given a special commendation.

University Architectural students Maria Bilocca and Mireille Tabone received the Urban Planning Concept Award. The project is an investigation of voids – forgotten, wasted or dead spaces within the industrial estate of Kordin, with the intent to activate the voids and rethink the food and material industries, and their waste.  The concept was very well articulated and detailed, having insightful visualisations that reflect the depth of thought.

A special commendation was given to architecture student Thomas Mifsud for his concept project Water Archive and to Katrina Grech Mallia for her project ‘An antithesis to the Shifting Baseline Syndrome’.

The Imperial Residential Home for the Elderly in Sliema by Foresite FS Design and MED Design received the Hospitality, Tourism Accommodation & Leisure Award. This project is an exemplary transformation of one of the oldest buildings in Sliema. With an architectural style which is in keeping with its use, the project accomplished the restoration of the original historic building while providing top notch facilities.

The Architectural Photography Award was won by Rakel Vella. The winning image is a commendable abstract of the architectural subject due to the composition and visual impact of the photograph, with light and shade being used to highlight the straight lines of the building in the image.

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