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Konrad Buhagiar receives the President’s Award for Architecture at the MASP Awards for 2021

AP Valletta's executive director and founding partner, Konrad Buhagiar received the ‘President’s Award’ prize during the 2021 Malta Architecture and Spatial Planning (MASP) Awards Ceremony

The prestigious award aims to celebrate Buhagiar’s outstanding years of service and achievements related to architecture and spatial planning and his dedication to the creation of meaningful and timeless architecture on the island.

“My work is actually the effort of a whole team of architects, engineers, interior architects and historians led by my partner David Felice and myself. It is the product of the coordinated effort of a multitude of skills and the combination of a group of minds working in a synchronised pace”, said Konrad Buhagiar. He also added, “AP Valletta is a large family, there are 50 of us. We share a common vision which we believe contributes positively to the transformation that the urban fabric of the islands must necessarily undergo.”

The jury commented, “Perit Buhagiar is a well-known and respected professional who has contributed to the education, theory and practice of architecture. Through his work and writings, he is well versed in architectural research and in the promotion and advancement of architecture which have contributed to raise awareness in the built environment. His interest and work in the conservation of buildings was noted together with his inspirational design capability. His contribution throughout the years is considered to be outstanding.”

Konrad Buhagiar has been responsible for numerous restoration and rehabilitation works in historic buildings and urban sites. He has lectured at the University of Malta and, among the others, at the Canterbury University College of Creative Arts, U.K., and at the New York University, U.S.A. In addition, he published numerous historical and academic articles. He has been the Chairman of the Heritage Advisory Committee and the Valletta Rehabilitation Committee. Konrad is also the chief editor behind AP’s A Printed Thing and Founding Myths of Architecture publications.

AP Valletta’s vast portfolio includes prestigious projects such as the Barrakka Lift, Dock No.1, Valletta Waterfront, Kenuna tower, the new St Johns’ Cathedral Museum and Caravaggio Centre, the restoration of St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral and the restoration and refurbishment of the Manoel Theatre, which was also won the Restoration Award.

The restoration and rehabilitation of the Baroque theatre were initiated in the mid-1990s by the Manoel Theatre Management Committee and led by AP Valletta up to completion. The master plan focused on improving the theatre’s facilities and developing and diversifying the cultural activities it houses. It aimed, simultaneously, at lending a new public image to the theatre to increase its external legibility and emphasise its importance, both locally and internationally. 

The restored Teatru Manoel is a testimony to the resilience of historical and heritage buildings when they are kept in constant use. Whilst the structure of the building has been modified to accommodate ever-changing requirements, the function and identity of the building has remained unchanged. “Our philosophy at AP is that heritage is not static but rather in constant evolution, being the link between past, present and future, and we believe our work is the reflection of this theoretical principle”, commented Konrad Buhagiar.

AP Valletta also received a commendation along with MTGF design studio for the Interior category with ‘Valletta Townhouse’. This comprises three stories which have been restored and an all-new roof extension up above, that has been modelled to frame a spectacular panoramic view of the Grand Harbour. The structure has been traditionally crafted from local stone and timber and carved with unorthodox proportions reflecting its contemporary nature. Though solid in nature, it is punctuated with timber louvres such that an intimate relationship is built between the interior and the exterior. This is accentuated employing a playful use of rusticated course lines, which are further enhanced by the corresponding alignment of the timber louvred screens.

The Malta Architecture and Spatial Planning (MASP) Awards are held annually by the Planning Authority and serve to give recognition to architects, interior designers, university students and any person who would have made an outstanding contribution over the years through research, education, theory and practice of architecture and the built environment.

The 2021 MASP Awards Ceremony Night was held on Saturday 26th February 2022 at The Grand Master’s Suite of the Hilton Hotel in St. Julian’s.

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