SVETOZAR ANDREEV, ARCHITECT, AUTHOR OF THE HEART OF MALTA PROJECT:
"Over this short period, a great deal of additional information relating to the Heart of Malta has come to light, which I would like to share with you now.
1) There has been a very active and enthusiastic response to our project in the international press. Since begginning of 2019, over fifty articles have appeared in some of the largest international and local media outlets, including CNN International, CNN Japan, CNN Greece, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, Condé Nast, GEO, Le Figaro, ELLE, National Geographic, La Stampa, BILD, the NZ Herald and many others. For us, this level of press attention is further confirmation that our project is of great interest to the public, and that it fully meets the objective we set ourselves at the outset: “to create a new centre of attraction in Dwejra with an architectural and cultural landmark.”
2) We have received a huge number of responses from readers of the articles set out above, and many letters from the residents of Malta. I would particularly like to draw your attention to some of them here:
- Among the comments and observations on the Heart of Malta project, I have noticed the phrase
“James Bond’s new residence” crops up quite often. It has to be said that from the very start it was clear
to me that the project has the potential to become not only an architectural and cultural landmark for Malta and Gozo, but also an outstanding location for the fashion and film industries. I would like to emphasise this aspect for both film-makers and the government of Malta, a country with close and long-established links
to the international film industry. I am confident that, as a cultural centre, the Heart of Malta will generat additional revenue for the country, and will reimburse the investment made in its construction through regular international cultural events, concerts, fashion shows and television broadcasts, as well as through its appeal as a location for making advertisements, music videos and films.
- Of particular interest to us were the letters from Maltese people working in Dwejra, requesting that we incorporate a glass floor into the lower level of the complex, or at least glass elements, which would enable visitors to see the remnants of the original Azure Window, which at present can only be seen by divers. These requests are a clear indication for us that many people working in Dwejra attach a great deal of hope to our project. From the very beginning, we have been looking at such a development for the lower floor of the complex, and we are ready to discuss this with Maltese authorities at the earliest available opportunity.
- In the correspondence from residents of Gozo, serious concern is expressed over the lack of proper parking facilities in Dwejra. In this regard, I am ready to propose a series of measures to develop the surrounding territory as part of the Heart of Malta exhibition complex project. These measures include architectural and design solutions to create a unified infrastructure for the central square in Dwejra and the territory surrounding the complex:
a) the construction of underground parking beneath Dwejra’s central square;
b) the installation of a bespoke system of architectural lighting;
c) designs for commercial pavilions, ticket offices and other architectural features;
d) the creation of a comprehensive branding concept for the entire complex, including signage.
All of the above should be created in a uniform style, one which complements the aesthetic of the project
as a whole, and becomes an organic part of it. I would like to reiterate that our project is founded on the idea of creating an ultra-modern piece of architecture which blends into the natural environment, and we believe that the urbanistic approach proposed for St Julian’s and other heavily-developed places in Malta is entirely inappropriate for Dwejra.
I am therefore convinced that the radical idea to install underground parking beneath Dwejra’s central square will enable us to not only resolve the issue of parking facilities, but also to preserve intact both the natural landscape and the existing architecture which together have created the unique Maltese charm so beloved by all. The implementation of all the measures set out above will create a top-level infrastructure for the centre of Dwejra, as an integral part of the Heart of Malta exhibition complex.
- Judging by some of the comments expressing concern that the construction would corrode from contact with sea-water, it became clear to us that some readers understood the term “steel structure” at face value, and were not necessarily aware of the existence of metallized ceramics and the other advanced surfacing materials which have enabled us to arrive at the design in its current form.
3) Undoubtedly, aside from the purely economic factors, there is a large number of other aspects that we would like to present to you in the future. These aspects relate both to architectural ideology as a whole, and to outstanding examples of the implementation of “landmark” pieces of architecture and sculpture, objects which have been incorporated into both the historical built environment and the natural landscape, and which may have initially created controversy in contemporary society, but in time became national symbols as a result of their very uniqueness. One thinks of Mount Rushmore in the USA, the Eiffel Tower, the Grande Arch de la Défense and the glass pyramid of The Louvre in Paris, the Soumaya Museum in Mexico City, the Sydney Opera House, the Palm Islands in Dubai and many other examples of outstanding architecture." - Svetozar Andreev