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Over the centuries, the entire
seafront overlooking the Grand Harbour has undergone major transformations linked to shifting historical and political realities.
Thriving maritime commercial activities were the most important determining factor of change from the 18th century onwards: in order to encourage the exchange of goods, several gates were opened in the 16th century fortification walls and infrastructural developments such as the Marsa seafront stores became instrumental to the economic growth of the country.
Today, once again, a new economic reality is transforming the area – and, in the case of Marsa, without any continuity with its past.
While the commercial and industrial character has been retained, most of the architectural and urban qualities were lost in the process of modernisation.
Recent developments have in fact broken up the homogenous sequence of arches of the two-storey buildings belonging to a time in which Marsa was a primary naval and merchant base in the Mediterranean.
‘Emma’, the SORĠI piece inspired by these traditional stores, borrows their architectural language and abstracts it in the pattern visible as an engraving on the base.
CHARACTERISTICS HIGHLIGHTED IN DESIGN:
Rhythms of rectangular & circular openings
A mix of geopolymer concrete, a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional Portland concrete that employs aluminum silicates with alkaline reagents and water, was chosen as main material; fly-ash collected from the chimneys of the Marsa power station – another iconic building that was recently demolished,
was also included in the mix and poured into a mold recreating the profile of the basic geometries of the facades and celebrating the spirit of the place. ‘Emma’ will be placed in one of the few pedestrian-priority areas of Marsa, as a reminder of both the ancient and the most recent past.
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