Restore, don’t replace!

Nov 24, 2021

Valetta, Malta. Collaborating to save timber balconies and the traditional craftsmanship

Adaptive reuse of cultural heritage buildings

 

 

Traditional closed timber balconies are part of Malta’s cultural identity. They highly influence the aesthetic of the streetscape with their colours, materials and decorative motifs. However, climate change and lack of maintenance threaten these fragile heritage features. Owners often replace traditional balconies with new materials (such as aluminium) or modern infrastructure considered more affordable and maintenance-free. This threatens the urban landscape and conservation areas. Decreased restoration also threatens the transmission of traditional craftsmanship.

Maltese local authorities designed a holistic strategy engaging with heritage professionals and citizens, leading to the restoration of more than 4,000 timber balconies. Meetings and workshops with craftsmen and artisans gave local authorities deeper understanding of the needs and barriers in preserving timber balconies.

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