It is hoped that sense will prevail at Casa Lanfreducci – FAA
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Photographs of the basement of Casa Lanfreducci, previously part of the Our Lady of Victory crypt, show a network of interlinking vaulted rooms, which the Valletta Regeneration project is planning to convert to changing rooms, toilets and showers for the nearby performance space.
As may be seen in the photograph above, some of the rooms are merely arched, without dividing walls, so conversion to changing rooms, toilets and showers would necessitate partitioning which would alter the micro-climate of the place and could cause problems like the serious damp problem caused in Our Lady of Victory church when part of the crypt was walled off.
The central arch supporting the large main room is a marvel of vernacular architecture and possibly unique to this site. The ingenious system of drains leads from gutters chiselled into the walls which carry water from a higher level down to ancient floor pipes which can be seen at the upper and even the lower basement levels, possibly carrying the water to an underground cistern.
It has been confirmed that in the course of exploratory works on this site, remains of those who died at the time of the Great Siege were found in several parts of this former crypt.
Converting this structure to changing rooms, toilets, showers and storage would necessitate plumbing and structural works which would inevitably damage the walls and floors, as well as changing the unique character of this crypt.
Having survived the bombing which destroyed the house above, is this crypt with its beautiful vaulting to be desecrated now? Quod non fecerunt barbari, fecerunt Barberini – what the barbarians did not destroy in the war, are we to destroy now?
It is thought that this case will be heard by the MEPA board tomorrow at 10am, in spite of the fact that Casa Lanfreducci is not mentioned in the application, and no application site notice was placed on the façade of Casa Lanfreducci. If this is the case, it is hoped that sense will prevail.
Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar