The Planning Commission has today granted planning permission for the disused Boys’ Lyceum school in Victoria, to be converted into a museum and cultural centre for Gozo.
Located along the main road leading up to the centre of Victoria, the Gozo Museum, as it will be known, will bring together various historical collections which exist in smaller museums within the Cittadella, the Commission said.
The collections will include artefacts from the field of natural history, archaeology, folklore, art and ethnography. Visual arts will also be introduced into this new museum.
The Commission added that there will also be space for temporary exhibitions as well as the Gozo offices of Heritage Malta. A museum shop, cafeteria and a conference space are part of the project.
The restoration of the 1950’s modern architectural building which was designed by architect Joseph G. Huntingford, will be included in the work. This project will ensure that another of Huntingford’s architectural legacies will live on, said the Commission.
The 1970s library block, carries little architectural quality, it said, and will be demolished and reconstructed.
A lightweight covered walkway will connect the two buildings. The Commission said that a sunken piazza at the back of the school will be rehabilitated to create a public open space.
Architect Joseph G. Huntingford, during his ten years in Gozo, constructed twelve schools and several industrial buildings and was considered as one of the pioneers of modernist architecture in Malta.
Huntingford had a tremendous ability to play with light and shade in his architecture. Understanding fully the importance of shading in our hot and humid climate, Huntingford used delicate concrete shading structures in a number of his buildings.
This play of delicate concrete shading structures is maximised at the Victoria school where the walkway emphasises the entrance to the building, creating a shaded portico south facing in the form of a series of light gentle arched concrete structures.
The Commission said that this structure is both beautiful and extremely pragmatic. It naturally lends itself to the principal entrance of the museum, designed to create an elegant minimal inviting access route over a slim concrete bridge.