The project brief outlined by the client was remarkably exhaustive as it entailed the re-location of a substantial amount of work force into a building, which is endowed with the character that encapsulated the city of Valletta as a whole. The said intervention was to add a series of new amenities to the building such that it would serve as the island’s main tourism office. Such a build asked for a highly careful and delicate intervention in order to set, and follow, a comfortable balance with the existing vernacular fabric. The existing traditional features were respected and duly complimented by markedly contemporary details such as the slotted horizontal glass panels, spanning the whole of the public area and number of light fittings neatly tucked into door lintels and archways; highlighting the original characteristics of the space.
One particular area was split in its vertical axis by the introduction of a mezzanine. The materials used in its construction were chosen in a way and manner so as to accentuate such an intervention; making it clearly distinguishable from the existing building fabric; while being careful not to let it interfere with the character of the space itself. Glass floor panels were used in order to give prominence to the height of the room, while the use of timber gave the room a sense of warmth and intimacy sought fitting for the inclusion of a library. An arched opening, which had been blocked off and covered in layers of decorating artifacts and rendering, was restored. An additional requirement was that of an additional flight of steps, connected to the original one. The design approach adopted was one that put continuity, on various levels, as a priority. The existing wrought iron railing was extended throughout the second flight, forming a visual and material link while the threads were designed with staggered wood panels. A modular approach to the furniture was taken into consideration in order for desks to be able to lock into each other making the space much more flexible in its use.