Meet AP Valletta: Superstar local architecture practice celebrates 27 years with new name
The ‘next curve’ for the practice that has come to be known as the main influencer of contemporary architecture in Malta
St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral. Credit: AP Valletta
Locals and return visitors to the islands may be familiar with Architecture Project as the architecture and design practice behind local gems such as the award-winning Barrakka Lift, the regeneration of City Gate and the new Parliament in collaboration with Renzo Piano Building Workshop, as well as the ongoing works on a new museum at St John’s Co-Cathedral and the restoration of St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral.
And now, the firm that has played such a fantastic role in renewing and developing the capital city’s fabric over the last 27 years has formally been renamed AP Valletta, following an intense rebranding exercise which has led to a more representative identity that reflects the narrative of the award-winning practice.
Founded in 1991 as a manifesto in the Modernist tradition, Architecture Project has, since then, made a notable contribution to the awareness of architecture locally, experiencing an evolution which AP embraced as part of its very essence. “Change generates evolution, and it is the only thing that keeps everything alive”, commented one of AP Valletta’s Executive Directors, Konrad Buhagiar, at a launch event held last week.
AP’s exhibition at la Galerie d’Architecture (Paris, 2013).
A common thread of this evolution is the strong link of the practice with Valletta, both through awe-inspiring projects like the ones mentioned above, as well as its own physical links to the city: being based in a 17th century building that is currently being transformed into ‘four sappers’, a creative cluster which brings architecture and design, food and digital fabrication together.
Speaking of the vision behind the cluster at the launch, AP Valletta Executive Director David Felice explained that a distinctive feature of creative enterprises is that they thrive best in each other’s company, and in places that have a strong local identity. The concept behind the creative cluster is therefore to enable creative enterprises to become drivers for urban regeneration and innovation within the context of Valletta as a creative city. Currently, AP Valletta, fablabvalletta and the Mediterranean Culinary Academy – which provided a number of mouth-watering dishes at the event – form part of this growing community.
Apart from becoming ISO 9001 certified, the practice has also appointed a new non-executive (and non-architect) chairman, Reinhold Karner, an international business advisor experienced in building sustainable entrepreneurial success. With 40 years of experience as an entrepreneur, mentor and management consultant, Karner says, “to be sustainably successful is a great art, a perpetual challenge which follows its own rules and realities.”
We can’t wait to see what AP Valletta has in store for the islands in the years to come! Check them out on their new website.