Will High rise help Sliema environment?
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Two proposed tower blocks of 30 and 40 stories apiece would help Sliema’s environment, according to Chamber of Architects president Christopher Mintoff.
“Sliema is a mess, its skyline looks like a bad grin full of missing teeth,” Mintoff said in an interview with MaltaToday. “One of the biggest plagues of the Maltese urban environment is the support wall [hajt tal-appogg]: blank walls separating buildings of different heights, with no windows or features. They’re hideous. Xemxija, for instance, is full of them. You won’t have that with tower blocks. And high-rise also puts more pressure on architects to come up with good designs…”
When questioned as to whether Malta’s recent high-rise craze boils down to ego, Mintoff admitted that Malta is heading towards a “culture change”.
“When you see one application after another, one for 30 storeys, another for 40… it’s a little like the [Donald] Trump mentality, yes. We’re heading in that direction. So yes, it is a culture change. It is a new architectural direction, but it has its restrictions, too. In our profession we are limited by a number of constraints. In the case of high-rise, it’s floor-to-area ratio that matters. You can only build 50% of the footprint, the rest must be given up as public space…”