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Traditional Maltese Niċċeċ Incorporated In New Modern Buildings: Yes Or No?

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As the construction frenzy continues to take over the Maltese islands, we sometimes see desperate attempts at trying to conserve what’s left of our cultural heritage.

While a building that contains a traditional niche, known as niċċa in Maltese, can be demolished to make space for another development, the niche itself cannot be demolished.

This reality is leading to these old traditional niches being integrated within new buildings cropping up all over Malta.

People within the Maltese design field have spoken to Lovin Malta raising concerns that these incorporated niches are failing to contribute any aesthetic or cultural value.

Before and after

Before and after

A few years ago, an iconic ‘Green House’ was set to be demolished in Sliema, to be replaced by an eight-storey block including maisonettes, apartments, and basement garages.

Within the facade of the house, known as ‘Id-Dar il-Ħadra’ by locals of the area, it included a traditional Maltese niche. This was then incorporated within the facade of the new modern building. 

This can also be seen in another building that has an old niche incorporated within the facade, at Pinto Business Centre in Qormi.

Pinto Business Centre

Pinto Business Centre

Questions are being raised on whether this is the best option for the niches, but some might argue that it’s better than demolishing the entire thing completely.

As much as they are being incorporated, finding photos of these was quite challenging, as most traditional niches have been left within their original building.

If you’ve got any photos of niches being incorporated in new buildings, send them over at [email protected]

Do you agree with the incorporation of niches? 

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When Sasha (formerly known as Sasha Tas-Sigar) is not busy writing about environmental injustice, she's probably fighting for women's rights. Follow her at @saaxhaa on Instagram, and send her anything related to the environment, art, and women's rights at [email protected]

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