Situated in an industrial area, along the Mrieħel bypass, a 6000m2 cold concrete skeleton has long been scrutinized as a sore site of desertion. Since, the project has started, the existing structure has been transformed into a printing facility including all the necessary offices and facilities including a roof parking area. The location was one of the preferred sites to accommodate such a facility and despite the several structural challenges encountered, the building has since been transformed into a functional and practical printing press having large spans adequate to house the massive printing machinery and equipment.
Functionality throughout the design is not reflected only in the printing areas but also within the other internal facilities. The interiors were modelled in such a way to create a succession of complementary rooms, offices and sanitary facilities easily accessed from the main printing floors. The project reflects an environmental friendly architectural integrity as a holistic approach towards design, which, the client sought to use as a corporate face for the company. One such example is the main entrance. It is a showcase manifesting the art of printing creating a space strongly peculiar with its own character. The harmony and synchrony between architectural elements is a further confirmation of the fact that no detail was left unattended in order to offer both employees and visitors an exceptional example of aesthetic balance within an industrial working environment.
The extension of the Progress Press printing facility is a pragmatic composition of an additional three floors built on top of the existing facility which decision was taken midway the construction of the newly constructed facility. The extension excels as a practical work of art in itself and will house further office facilities together with adequate parking facilities. The concept consists of having massive, richly finished massing elements which hover gently over the existing facade where cantilevers and round columns are used to achieve the equilibrium of mass and lightness. The concern of having the extension looking as an afterthought is prevailed over by the use of intelligently designed architectural elements, blurring the boundaries between the existing content and the eventual extensions. The architecture of the whole building does not compromise the environmental performance of the building.
While shaping the interior spaces, a more passive approach towards environmental issues was taken in consideration – a central atrium is lit up by the use of north lights, a succession of triangular internal courtyards encourages cross ventilation to the large open plan office spaces and a naturally ventilated parking system is adopted on parts of the first, second, and third floors.
The radical transformation of a once known concrete carcass is a desired upgrade to the surrounding industrial environment creating a unique architectural decorum to the busy Mriehel by-pass. The project provides a glimpse of a livelier and more humane future working environment as a pleasant social place rather than a mere place of work.