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Restoration for Casino Notabile

Casino Notabile, constructed in 1887 by the nobles of Mdina. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Casino Notabile, constructed in 1887 by the nobles of Mdina. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

The historic Casino Notabile on Saqqajja Hill will finally be renovated and its foundations strengthened after a planning commission gave the go-ahead for the former social club to be restored.

Filed by Mdina mayor Peter Sant Manduca, the permit will finally allow the consolidation of the building’s foundations, seven years after wooden beams were used to prevent it from collapsing. The building was stabilised but remained abandoned and clad in scaffolding.

The project was considered to be acceptable since the restoration interventions on the scheduled Grade 1 building fell in line with the demands of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee, among others.

The building consists of a neoclassical pavilion built on a podium overlooking the hill on the limits of Mdina. The pavilion is a relatively small structure of three rooms with a front porch and open terrace. Abutting the podium upon which it is built is a spring, l’Għajn tal-Ħasselin (‘the wash house’).

The permit will finally allow the consolidation of the building’s foundations

The restoration works will strengthen the rock layer on which the podium is constructed. A weak clay layer has caused substantial structural damage that is already visible. A number of micropiles will be inserted at a distance of 1.5 metres from each other to a depth of 12 metres and tied horizontally by a capping tie-beam.

Once the consolidation is finalised, the restoration of the pavilion will start, including the dismantling and reconstruction of both the porch and the wash house. The masonry of the casino will be cleaned and any accretions removed. Any lost or damaged architectural features will be replaced.

Internally, the paint will be removed and replaced with lime-based paint. A spiral staircase leading to the roof will be dismantled and reconstructed. All existing apertures will be stripped, restored and painted and the building will be waterproofed.

Last year, the government allocated €400,000 to the Mdina council for the restoration of the casino. The council wants to lease out the building to the private sector and has issued a tender for the concession, leaving all options open.

Constructed in 1887, Casino Notabile was built by nobles residing in Mdina as a place for their social gatherings.

They commissioned English civil engineer Paulson Webster, who constructed the Royal Opera House in Valletta.

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