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Carmelite Priory restoration wins prestigious award

The Carmelite Priory is now open to the public.

The Carmelite Priory is now open to the public.

The restoration of Mdina's Carmelite Priory emerged as the overall winning project in the 2009 Din L-Art Ħelwa Architectural Heritage Awards.

The 17th century priory, now open to the public, offers insight into the life of the cloistered friars as well as access to a selection of objets d'art.

The project, steered by Paul Muscat, won the Prix d'Honneur and also the overall Silver Medal for 2009 in the category for conservation and restoration.

The awards, presented by President Emeritus Guido de Marco, were announced by DLĦ president Martin Scicluna.

Architect Martin Farrugia of MF Architecture was awarded a diploma for his rehabilitation and reuse of a building in St Paul Street, Valletta, now hosting Dar-Ewropa. The 16th century townhouse was converted into modern offices, combining modern interventions with the aesthetic and architectural integrity of the building.

Architect Claude Borg was awarded a diploma for his restoration of the 18th century Villa Francia in Lija, which has been returned to its former glory after years of neglect.

While there were no applicants this year for the category of major regeneration of a complex on a grand scale, Mr Scicluna said it was most encouraging to see the restoration now coming to fruition at Fort Manoel and the plans to transform Freedom Square, the Opera House and City Gate.

However, he said while work is being done on the restoration of monuments and heritage sites, poorly-conceived urbanisation continued to proliferate, resulting in "an explosion of ugliness" and the tragic loss of unique indigenous architecture.

Prof. de Marco heaped praise on DLĦ for its role in properly safeguarding Malta's centuries-old architectural traditions.

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