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Castille square just a ‘missed opportunity’

Architect Alex Torpiano criticised the decision to have a number of statues scattered throughout the square. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Architect Alex Torpiano criticised the decision to have a number of statues scattered throughout the square. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

The Castille Square project was a “big missed opportunity”, according to leading architect Alex Torpiano, who yesterday said it could have served to draw crowds towards Castille.

Instead, he said, people tended to walk aimlessly around, not sure what to look at or where to go.

“I am no expert, but people don’t feel any direction at the square. The area was not designed, it was simply paved,” Prof. Torpiano, who is also Dean of the Faculty for the Built Environment, said yesterday.

He made the observations during the conference Valletta: Beyond 2020, organised by the Valletta Alive Foundation on the initiatives that need to be taken to promote the city’s well-being.

Prof. Torpiano said the design of the square should have given more prominence to Castille. He also lambasted the decision to have a number of statues scattered throughout the square.

Last year, following the announcement of plans to upgrade the square, a number of architects spoke out against the selected design.

It is a tricky stage of the revival of Valletta. Getting new residents in must be a top priority

During his talk, Prof. Torpiano also highlighted a number of measures that he said needed to be implemented to safeguard Valletta’s future.

Attracting young families to Valletta should be a top priority, he said, adding that the future of the city depended on this.

“It is a tricky stage in the revival of Valletta. Getting new residents in must be a top priority.”

He also called for more investment in areas on the periphery of the city.

“These areas need to be brought back into the collective, so that the liveable core of the city is stretched to extend to the enclosure of the bastions.”

According to Prof. Torpiano, the future of the core areas of Valletta looks “bright and lively”, yet he insisted that more investment was required to help both existing and new residents upgrade the public and private infrastructure of the peripheral dwelling areas.

“The existing residents can no longer afford the upkeep of the areas the local communities used to look after. The investment has to come from other sources,” he said, pointing out that a number of funding mechanisms would have to be explored to serve this purpose.

The Valletta Alive Foundation was set up in 2005 and works to promote interest in Valletta and encourage investment to preserve the city’s historic, cultural, social and commercial value.

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