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Palazzina Vincenti, the iconic St Julian’s villa facing a mega-development, has been awarded an Emergency Conservation Order (ECO) for its immediate protection.

 The Planning Authority issued the protection order amid serious concerns over its potential destruction.

 The ECO which has a one year validity period will enable the Authority to carry out a full and thorough assessment of the building so as to determine the long-term level of protection the property merits.

It will also oblige the owner of the property to ensure that the building does not incur any further damage and that its upkeep and maintenance shall be exclusively their responsibility by means of a continuous maintenance programme.

The proposed development would have seen the building demolished and replaced by a huge block, which would include a hotel, offices, restaurants at ground floor level, a gym, fitness studio and spa, a theatre, and a games room.

 “The application has rendered the property at risk with the irreversible loss of Malta’s cultural heritage.”

Built straight after the Second World War, this property is a pioneering example of modernist architecture where the experimental use of reinforced concrete for domestic purposes was introduced. The Palazzina was built by one of Malta’s most prominent architects of the first half of the 20th century, Gustavo Romeo Vincenti.

 The property which served as his residence up until his death in 1974, is one of the best modernist examples on the Island, whereby Vincenti’s mastery play with the circle and square geometric shapes is taken to an unprecedented dimension with protruding forms and sculpted spaces.

What do you think of the decision?