Monday 19 April 2021

Plans for avantgarde tower to light up Paceville

Plans for an iconic 33-storey, mixed-use tower at the entrance to Paceville, that will occupy just one-third of its site area, have been submitted to the Planning Authority on behalf of PX Lettings.

Inspired by the simplicity and stateliness of Malta’s Renaissance architecture, this striking mono-material building is the result of a search for architectural purity and the elimination of all that is not essential. Incorporating innovative environment-friendly features, it strives to create a sense of identity.

The project, which is owned by Paul Xuereb through his company PX Lettings, has been designed by 7478+ Christian Spiteri Architects, a partnership between a top international architecture firm based in Rotterdam and a prominent Maltese architectural firm.

Mr Xuereb said: “This is an exciting moment because after much discussion and a long design process we are now submitting the plans for a project we believe is a smart and sensitive answer to the contemporary challenges of Paceville’s development.”

The footprint of the multimillion project takes up just 32 per cent of the site area – 1,100sqm of the available 3,400sqm – opening up a sprawling plaza, which will be fully accessible to the public.

The tower will include serviced apartments on its upper floors, a business centre in the lower part of the building, and ancillary retail and restaurant spaces to complement the public plaza. Parking facilities will also be provided to cater for the development. 

The owners, who have abided by the principles set out in the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) policy, believe that a high rise in such a dense area is a better choice than engulfing the site with a characterless, conventional block that would occupy the whole site area and leave no public open space.

Architect Alessandro De Santis said: “The easier solution would have been for the owners to opt for a horizontally dense conventional development. But instead, they have gone for the most sustainable approach. A high rise, in this specific site of the heavily urbanised location of Paceville, is the best way to preserve and improve public areas, liberating more land to create open space available to all.”

The building tapers upwards to reduce shadowing. It features circular windows overlooking its extensive terraces, and completely does away with ornament and traditional double-skin cladding to present a strong, slim, sleek, and powerful silhouette.

The building shall tap into the latest technological advancements to ensure environmental sustainability and seeks to achieve the globally recognised LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

It is designed to perform within its environment, by placing all its service areas and cores on the south side to shield the habitable spaces against the harsh sun, while optimising the views of the Mediterranean Sea to the north.

“Malta is an incredibly beautiful island and we’re trying to rechannel this through the beauty of the building’s structural purity, while ensuring it is functional in terms of climate and use. We hope this ambitious project will become an important building for Malta.” Mr Spiteri said.

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