The entrance to Malta’s capital city and its surrounding environment will be transformed following the MEPA Board decision to grant a development permit for the construction of a new city gate for Valletta, Parliament building, piazza and performing space. The extensive project will be taking shape at the site of the former Royal Opera House and landscaping works along the ditch are also set to be carried out.
One of the key components of the development application submitted for the project was the redesign of City Gate and Bridge. The whole design hinges on the removal of the existing city gate and redesigning the entrance using three large monoliths ‘punctuated’ by metal inserts and the demolition of the large part of the existing bridge to expose and restore the 16th-century bridge, which is still existing within the fabric of the present structure.
The Parliament building which will be built in the present Pjazza Ħelsien, is composed of two blocks set back from Triq ir-Repubblika to create a wider open space at the entrance. One block will accommodate the parliament assembly chamber and the other, the supporting offices and an exhibition area at the ground floor.
The site of the ruins of the former Opera House is to be redeveloped into a piazza and performing space with supporting facilities. While the existing ruins will be restored, the existing lower level beneath the podium of the Opera House, will be used as entrance and foyer.
The original outer columns on the elevations of the theatre, which are missing to different degrees, will be reintroduced by a series of steel columns.
The Ditch area underneath the entrance to City Gate will feature landscaping works for recreational purposes. Street paving works around Pjazza Ħelsien and the new proposed square adjacent to Auberge d’Italie will consist of hardstone material.