The old and the new / Pre-war townhouse

location: mellieha, malta

year: 2013 – 2018

Old meets new in this pre-war townhouse, designed with the owner’s love for the building’s original fabric and her desire to rehabilitate it and to transform it into a contemporary home, with sensitive additions to maximise its potential in a flexible manner that could transform it into an entertainment space. Originally forming two separate properties fronting two streets, this house was conjoined and designed by our team to create spaces that appeal both to the senses and the mind. The two properties are linked through the upper floors with the new insertion of a bridge. An additional storey was added to the property so as to create new living spaces as well as a roof garden. Being partly new build, the relevance of stratigraphy is emphasised. White, clean and transparent, these new additions compliment the existing fabric, while the use of natural wood and stone adds a hint of intimacy.

An inner, central courtyard becomes the nucleus, acting as the main light well of the whole property, whilst replicating the traditional configuration of Maltese townhouses. Plenty of other original features have been retained and reinterpreted throughout the house, including the tralatitious decorative Maltese tiles, wrought iron features and the natural stone. Additional space-saving concepts and storage units are also replete within the property. At ground floor level a network of cave-hewn war shelters, accessible through the courtyard, have been rehabilitated and revitalised, with the prospect of housing an indoor spa, a wine cellar, a cinema room, and a study.

This project was awarded a special commendation at the Planning Authority’s 2018 Malta Architect Awards in the category Rehabilitation Conservation.

Photography by Sean Mallia