Located on Malta’s East coast, Paceville has developed over the past 50 years as the island’s tourist and entertainment centre, accommodating new projects that address this continued growth. Established as a cluster of holiday homes in the early 20th Century and developed into a major tourist hub from the 1960’s, Paceville is at the heart of St Julian’s in Malta where many of the island’s restaurants, bars, nightclubs, casinos and marina are located, together with international hotels including the Hilton, Le Meridien, InterContinental and Westin.
The renovation and redevelopment of Mercury House integrates residential apartments and boutique hotel within Malta’s most dynamic urban environment. Creating new public spaces and amenities for the island’s residents and visitors, the design responds to Paceville’s key urban challenges by investing in its civic realm and increasing its limited housing supply. These heritage structures will be renovated as integral parts of the new development; restoring the old Mercury House façades and reinstating its remaining historic interiors as gathering spaces and entrance for the apartments and hotel.
Restoring the facades of the old Mercury House, that date from 1903, to their original height enables this heritage structure to be read as a whole. The new development lands behind these renovated façades, defining the original Mercury House as the focus of a new public piazza. Including water features and fountains for children to play, as well as seating areas to relax, the new piazza will be the centre of its community by day, and one of Malta’s primary gathering places by night to suit the island’s al fresco lifestyle.
With the refurbished Mercury House at its base, the 24,500 sq.m. renovation and redevelopment incorporates civic amenities including cafes and shops surrounding the large piazza together with a new café pavilion of soft curves and a transparency that accentuates the solidity of the old Mercury House. The 31-storey tower of residential apartments and hotel is aligned at street level to integrate with Paceville’s existing urban fabric and to reduce its footprint, maximizing civic space within the new piazza.
Conceived as two volumes stacked vertically, the tower incorporates a realignment that expresses the different functional programmes within. The lower 9-storey volume houses apartments while the higher 19-storey volume is rotated to orientate guest rooms of the new hotel towards the Mediterranean, providing optimal views of Malta’s renowned azure sea. Re-aligning the tower’s higher floors reduces solar gain and instils a sense of dynamism within its silhouette that changes when viewed from different directions around Paceville.
The insulated façade, combined with limited glazing in areas of significant direct sunlight, is designed to provide shading and increase the tower’s overall thermal performance. The tower’s design also incorporates the results of local pedestrian comfort and wind climate assessments. Marrying a variety of public, residential and commercial functions together with the creation of a vibrant new civic space, the redevelopment of Mercury House includes the renovation of derelict heritage structures and responds to the demands of the island’s future socio-economic development. Source by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA).
- Location: Paceville, St Julian’s, Malta
- Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)
- Design: Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher
- Project Director: Manuela Gatto
- Design Associate: Jakub Klaska
- ZHA Project Architects: Alberto Barba, Carolina López-Blanco, Kutbuddin Nadiadi, Yevgeniya Pozigun
- ZHA Project Consultant: Branko Svarcer, John Simpson
- ZHA Head of Interiors: Kar-Hwa Ho
- Facades Lead: Tomasz Starczewski
- ZHA Project Team: Houzhe Xu, Jung Yeon Kwak, Mark Winnington, Alejandro Garcia Gadea, Catherine Mccann, Evgeniya Yatsyuk, Olga Yatsyuk, Rachelle Spiteri, Yazhu Liang, Yun Zhang, Julian Lin, Sai Prateik Bhasgi, Li Jin, Reza Karimi, Jose Alberto Mariano Machon, Matthew Johnston, Mattia Gambardella
- Retail Pavilion
- Project Architect: Gerhild Orthacker
- Project Team: Michail Desyllas, Evgeniya Yatsyuk, John Simpson
- Concept Design Team: Jakub Klaska, Benjamin Sachs, Evgeniya Yatsyuk, Nan Jiang, Jose Pareja-Gomez, Aleksandra Mnich, Garin O’Aivazian, Chao Wei, Damiano Rizzini, Mu Ren, Karoly Markos, Nicholette Chan, Seungho Yeo, Carolina Lopez-Blanco, Ashwin Shah, Claudia Doner, Tetsuya Yamazaki
Project Administrator: Nastasija Hahonina
- Graphic Designer: Silviya Barzakova
- ZHA Cluster Director: Charles Walker
- Local Architect: Annamaria Attard Montalto, Malta
- Façade and Glazing Engineers: Werner Sobek, UK
- Lighting Engineers: Bartenbach
- Vibration and Acoustics: ARAU ACUSTICA, Spain
- Structure: BAC Engineering Consultancy Group, Spain
- Structure: Evolve Consulting Structural and Civil Engineers, UK
- MEP Engineers: ECL Consulting Engineers, Malta
- Fire Protection and Life Safety: Atelier Ten, UK
- Planning Consultants: ERSLI Consultants, Malta
- Restoration Consultant: Perit Marie Louise Caruana Galea, Malta
- Waste Consultant: Desiree Bajada
- Landscape Consultants: Medisun, Malta
- Wind Loads / Pedestrian Comfort: RWDI UK, UK
- Virtual Reality Studios: VRs
- Geological Stability / Dust and Vibration Monitoring: Terracore, Malta
- Project Management Consultants: Pmanage Ltd, Malta
- Operational Monitor: Perit John Papagiorcopulo; Perit, Malta
- Tourism Consultant: Mario Loporto, Malta
- Client: J.Portelli Projects, Malta
- Visualisations: VA, Czech Republic
- Year: 2018
- Images: Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)
Article by Marco Rinaldi