Valletta deserves much better

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Far from the madness of the world, in the little fishy pond called Malta, a new eatery in Valletta should be something to single out. And singled out it is—by its hideousness.

The restaurant is on the Marsamxetto side of Valletta and sticks out magnificently as the sorest thumb around. At first sight it looks awful, at second sight it looks worse and at third sight it looks as if we really have taken leave of all our senses. Or of the little sense we still possessed.

The place is hideous beyond belief. If it was anywhere else—say in the subterranean caverns of some demented architect’s or designer’s building a few thousand metres away from civilisation—it might have just been fine.

It should only have been allowed out of that cavern to be placed in some ultra-modern, glitzy place devoid of all chic like Paceville, present or futuristic.

And if it was always there and has only been put in the spotlight by being given a paint job then go ahead and strip it to look less like a scar on Valletta.

Even the article which first highlighted the restaurant was worrying. The Times of Malta quoted an architect who did say it was awful but wanted to remain anonymous.

Is it possible that we can’t find a single architect who will own up to showing disdain about a horror smack on the shoreline of our capital city?

Whoever permitted this monstrosity, this pustule, to be erected there, should be taken to the most prominent place in Valletta, drenched in white paint, flogged, quartered and fired from a cannon into oblivion or beyond. Or left to hang on the bastions for all of us to know what will happen to whoever sanctions such architectural onslaughts on our majestic capital city. If we are not careful we will soon have to refer to Valletta as the once majestic.

I do not blame the designer or the restaurateur—they wanted that design and they got it. But surely the planning authority, or whatever authority there is to stop these horrors, should very vehemently impose what is aesthetically acceptable or not.

We should safeguard Malta with our life, especially Valletta, our jewel in the crown. All our misdeeds will have terrible consequences, for us and for our visitors, for many years, centuries and millennia to come. In this case I presume that the restaurant can be dismantled and the pristine view reinstated for all to enjoy and appreciate.

It is our privilege to enjoy the cities of our country, and all there is in them, but it is also our duty to keep them as beautiful as we found them or better. That is one hell of a cliché but it is also one hell of a difficult thing to do; cliché or not many of us, conveniently or not, forget to follow it. And those in power claim that it’s hard to be strict as, previously, we let the rot to set in.

It’s never too late to change, to be tough, to implement what is needed. Our cities, our architecture, our essence, have to be preserved. We need not build in the idiom of yesteryear—as Renzo Piano proved so eloquently—but, before changes are wrought in our capital city, more care should be given to what Valletta is all about and what it will be in the eyes of present and future viewers.

I wish all the luck to the restaurant down at Marsamxetto and hope their food is truly impressive. However, what will impress me most is if they dismantle their edifice immediately or get it redesigned.