The Russian architect behind a plan to breathe new life into Gozo’s collapsed Azure Window by actually rebuilding it with mirrored steel has said he welcomes the controversy surrounding his audacious project.
“Criticism is something that I react to calmly – there has never been an outstanding architectural piece built without negative or conservative public reaction,” Hotei Russia CEO Svetozar Andreev told Lovin Malta. “Indeed, I agree with the argument that my project challenges nature, for architecture in its very essence presents a challenge to nature.”
“The megaliths and bastions of Valletta themselves are a challenge to nature. Nonetheless, we have designed our project in such a way that nature lives, changes and is reflected in its facets and aspects, and becomes an integral part of it. What better metaphor could there be for the nature of human existence?”
Andreev, who has visited Malta and Gozo several times since 2008, plans to recreate the exact state of the Window before it collapsed into the sea. Its interior will include a exhibition space laid out over five spiral floors, with each spiral floor representing one thousand years of Maltese history.
To achieve the metallic effect on the structure’s surface, the architect and his team plan to utilise the latest ecological measures used in shipbuilding and architecture.
“This will protect the surface from corrosion, fire, distortion, and will also prevent any negative environmental impact,” he said.
The plan has been submitted to the Maltese authorities, which could well be in line with an international initiative that was launched two years ago to memorialise the Dwejra landmark.
“The idea for the project came to us approximately six months after the Azure Window’s collapse,” Andreev said. “The sight of the empty Dwejra Bay inspired us to create a monument that would do more than simply copy the natural relief of the Azure Window, but would rather serve as a memorial to it, and at the same time become a significant architectural feature with immaculate compositional integrity.”
“The resultant form may be ultra-modern, but it is nonetheless wholly dedicated to historical memory.”
“It was fascinating for us to receive such active and varied feedback on the project from the Maltese people, both overwhelmingly positive and in some cases negative,” Andreev concluded. “For us, the fact that it has not met with an indifferent response is a true sign of the project’s value.”
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