History of Site
The Auberge d’Italie was originally used as a residence and administrative quarters by the Italian knights within the Hospitaller Order of St. John. Located within Valletta, the area can be easily reached as it is within walking distance from the city gate or via the panoramic lift taking visitors up to the Barrakka Gardens.
Project Scope & Overview
Through the proposed project, it was ensured that the historical themes and related objects were displayed through a resource efficient framework. The aim of the display was to complement the historic site via an easily understandable, visual narrative that empowers the audience to learn, think, and engage. Therefore through the introduction of new connecting spaces, the aim of the intervention was to maximise the potential use of the collection beyond the display.
The Final Proposal
The free flowing foot traffic and exhibit visitors allow to keep the space busy. The courtyard cafe coupled with a retractable roof will also contribute to foot traffic within the building whilst providing a critical revenue injection. The rooftop terrace cafe/bar also generates further revenue streams whilst providing unique views of the Pjazza La Vallette and Renzo Piano’s new parliament building. Both this space as well as the sheltered courtyard are able to cater for large scale functions with ease.
A space for a rotating gallery or temporary exhibits has been provided for at ground floor and a conference room/theatre is located immediately on the floor above taking advantage of the existing change in levels for sight lines. The temporary exhibit hall may also serve as a venue alone or coupled with the sheltered courtyard on occasions and so can the roof top terrace depending on the weather.
Also unique to this submission is the incorporation of a restoration demonstration workshop at ground floor as an integral part of the experience. Administration areas are located on the mezzanine floor overlooking Merchant Street as firstly, it is on a different level to the remaining floor and secondly due to its lower ceiling height. The administration will be served by dedicated entrance on Melita street, it is also linked to all remaining spaces by means of service lift provided as well as the existing stair well.
Furthermore the Piano Nobile houses an array of functions. The oldest part on Merchant Street is dedicated to the academic aspect, including the collection library, workshop and lecture hall. Ancillary facilities including a researchers lounge and terrace, bathrooms and kitchenette are housed within the more recent addition overlooking Melita Street. The roofed area at this level shall consist of a roof terrace bar overlooking Pjazza de Vallette and the internal courtyard.