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University applies for extension of campus

University of Malta

University of Malta

Extension set to include car park, underground studios, creative workshops and above-ground offices for post-doctoral research.

An extension of the University of Malta campus is set to include an underground car park, underground studios and creative workshops and new, above-ground offices for post-doctoral research.

The new development, envisioned in a planning application presented to MEPA, will involve the demolition of the protected science lecture theatre and the creation of new landscaped areas.

Part of the site earmarked for the extension is occupied by a surface car park, while another comprises unused agricultural fields, rubble walls and some trees. The site also includes the science lecture theatre, which was recently scheduled for protection by MEPA as a Grade 2 monument. The theatre was scheduled as being representative of 20th-century architecture.

A Grade 2 scheduling allows some development work to be done, but the outer skin of a structure must be retained.

In January, the university appealed against MEPA’s decision to protect the theatre. In a meeting held at MEPA, it vehemently objected to the decision.

During the meeting, Alex Torpiano argued that the university desperately needed more space and that the science lecture theatre, build by Norman & Dawbarn in the 1960s, looked “dated” and had no architectural worth. He also argued that the university desperately needed to demolish the theatre and build more functional buildings to replace it.

The discussion was postponed to give the university time to present its master plan, which is included in the application presented to MEPA.

The application is currently undergoing MEPA’s initial screening process.

Before the March election, Labour promised more parking facilities at the university.

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