The Malta Stock Exchange operates today from 19th century Garrison chapel, built at the time of the Crimean War as a school and place of worship for the allied troops passing through Malta on their way to battle. Sitting on the very edge of a tunnel-ridden bastion, the building originally consisted of a single large void roofed over with a timber-trussed structure which was on the point of collapse and on which extensive restoration work had to be carried out. This included re-modelling of the timber heads with steel shoes, strengthening of the bottom tensile members with the addition of steel ties and a complete re-building of the roof structure.
The intervention necessary to accommodate the offices of the Exchange consisted primarily in the insertion of two parallel office wings running along the length of the building and terminating in circulation towers. These arms are constructed utilizing a visible steel post and lintel structure with glass partitions, whilst open office spaces bridge across. In all, six floors of useful office space have been created inside the historic space. The distinction created between the original masonry walls and the inserted steel and glass structure is fundamental to the project, the steel bracing at the end of each wing remaining visible to indicate the reversibility of the intervention, leaving the whole of the original fabric intact.
A steel lightweight ridge housing a Passive Downdraft Evaporative Cooling system, allows a drop of approximately seven degrees Celsius to be achieved in the internal environment without the use of conventional air-conditioning systems. The effect is one of natural coolness and provides a welcome relief from the hot stifling heat that characteristic of Malta during the summer months.
Mies van der Rohe architecture prize, nominated (2003)
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