The Russian architect behind an audacious attempt to recreate the Azure Window as a steel structure has refuted criticism by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, saying his project will fascinate people from all over the world.
“In spite of the superficial impression of being in conflict with the environment, what we have in this project is an example of the ultimate conceptual and architectural integration of a structure into its physical context, meaning that here we can speak of a successful solution which goes beyond the bounds of the concept of urbanisation,” Svetozar Andreev told Lovin Malta.
“The image of an Azure Window built from steel, one which reflects the sky, the land, and the sea – this is a very powerful image”
“Therefore we are confident that we have been able to fully and faithfully reflect in our project the interaction of humanity and nature, the theme of downfall and prevailing, as a fundamental leitmotif for contemporary culture, having created an architectural design with its own drama and story, and whose familiar silhouette, in the edges of which reality itself dissolves, will intrigue and fascinate many people all over the world, and will reflect in the best possible way the spirit of Malta’s past.”
Andreev’s plans, which would see the new Azure Window turned into an exhibition space for Maltese history, are currently being assessed by the Environment and Resources Authority. When asked for his opinion last week, Joseph Muscat said he doesn’t like Andreev’s proposal and doesn’t think “it’s the right thing to do”.
Several people took to social media to voice their agreement with Muscat’s assessment, with the most common criticism being that the project would be a prime example of humans meddling with nature.
However, Andreev countered this criticism by arguing that the terms “natural” and “human” shouldn’t even be separated in the first place
“A human being’s consciousness is also a part of nature, and also lives according to her immutable laws, and such a separation looks at the very least presumptive,” he said. “We are, after all, also a part of nature, just one which possesses self-awareness and the ability to interpret that which occurs around us.”
He said that times have changed since the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, when cathedrals were built as symbols of mankind’s spiritual victory over death.
“Since that time, our perception of the world around us has altered radically, our horizons have broadened, and today we possess limitless opportunities thanks to the materials, technologies and means of expression that we now command”
“However, the greater the possibilities, the more frequently we show a complete helplessness when faced with the task of synthesising our knowledge and world view into a unified whole which extends beyond the bounds of the utilitarian, and it often seems that the people who built those cathedrals were a great deal bolder then than we are now.”
“Nevertheless, we cannot refute the fact that modern society needs new symbols which reflect the same issues which confronted the people who built beautiful cities many centuries ago, moreover we understand that we cannot live on monuments to the past alone, and we are now confronted with the necessity to create new projects which reflect the epoch in which we are living.”
Cover photo: Right: Svetozar Andreev (Photo: Svetozar Andreev: Instagram)