With the pressing issue of whether the renovations are keeping in with the UNESCO Venice Convention principle that ‘the new must be in sympathy with the old’ at hand, Dr Antoine Zammit, an architecture lecturer at the University of Malta, lends his professional insight. He outwardly rejects the conservative public inclination towards building in the traditional Baroque style, stating that ‘we cannot simply recreate the past… instead, while being of course sympathetic with the built and unbuilt spaces in the city, we need to produce something that speaks of our time, and that can remain as a legacy of our time.’
This introduction of a new historical cycle must also be taken outside the confines of architecture and implanted into the Maltese psyche if we are to move forward in any cultural and social domain. However, while this has been stated over and over by many a politician, its implementation is arguably an age-old process where the public must come into its own without the pushing and prodding of its leaders. Julian Vassallo, an architecture student and photographer, promotes the innovative idea that the new built environment can indeed be the very vehicle we need to challenge the Maltese mindset. ‘If Valletta wants to be prepared for the V18 project, people need to change their attitudes and their perspective regarding contemporary culture in Malta, and the Renzo Piano project is kickstarting that change.’
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