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Initial Farsons Business Park Masterplan presented to Farsons Board of Directors 18/06/2014

An initial proposed masterplan for the development and transformation of the iconic Old Brewhouse and former Packaging Halls into the Farsons Business Park has just been presented to the Farsons Board of Directors.

This was announced by Farsons Group Chairman Mr Louis A. Farrugia when he addressed shareholders after the company’s AGM held on Wednesday, 18 June 2014. In line with previous company statements on the preparation of a masterplan for the development of the Farsons Business Park, the Board appointed Ian Ritchie Architects, a British firm of architects of international repute, to lead the masterplan team.

Over the past 3 months, a visionary masterplan for the façade building and land has been prepared by Architect Ian Ritchie and his team, with support from Malta based engineers TBA Periti, as well as a host of specialists covering building sustainability, landscape, lighting and visitor experience design. 

Mr Farrugia said: “We have been working on this vision to find new uses for our iconic buildings for many years. Although it is ambitious, we feel confident that the time is right for a quality development of this magnitude to happen. Our Business Park will help transform the area and contribute to Malta’s economy by providing quality space that is both aesthetically pleasing and environmentally sustainable. We now need to secure all the necessary approvals and funding for this project to become a reality.”

Ian Ritchie Architects Ltd has a reputation for the unexpected, sustainable design, innovation and has undertaken research and development for major international companies. Major architectural and engineering works include the Reina Sofia Museum of Modern Art in Madrid, the Leipzig Messe Glass Hall, the Louvre Sculpture Courts and Pyramids, La Villette Cité des Sciences, the Jubilee Line Extension and International Regatta Centre in London, The Spire in Dublin and the Royal Shakespeare Company Courtyard Theatre.

He is a Royal Academician, member of the Akademie der Künste, the Honorary Visiting Professor at Liverpool University, and Emeritus Commissioner Commission for Architecture & the Built Environment (CABE).  He is a Fellow of the Society of Façade Engineering.

Ian Ritchie said: The Farsons project represents a wonderful opportunity to highlight the importance of regenerating Mrieħel, while making use of exceptional industrial heritage structures and placing their transformation into a very high quality development. Building upon Malta’s heritage, the design concept embraces environmentally sensitive and sustainable business pavilions set in a series of courtyard gardens, and will raise the standard of office design in Malta. Farsons have acted as both pioneers and guardians of Malta’s industrial heritage and their significant investment in the architectural and landscape thinking behind this ambitious project should certainly enhance Malta’s burgeoning reputation as a centre for international business.

A profound respect for the industrial heritage of Farsons’ valuable assets is at the heart of the vision, while the thinking behind the proposed masterplan seeks to capture the essence of Malta through a series of courtyard gardens, providing a unique, tranquil and inspiring place to work and visit. The project - considered as a first of its kind in Malta - will set new spatial, environmental and technical standards for “green” buildings in Malta. Energy efficient performance and building sustainability are central to the new office design which will meet the future demands of exceptional quality work environments for Maltese and international companies.

The Brewery façade will be sensitively restored and pioneer the showcasing of Malta’s industrial heritage. Once completed, the project will include around 50,000m2 of commercial space anchored by Grade A offices, together with complementary retail, leisure, cultural and social facilities. This will bring abouta new chapter in the future transformation of the industrial area of Mrieħel.

The Old Brewhouse itself will be transformed into a vibrant leisure entertainment hub with restaurants, bars, event spaces and a dynamic brewery visitor experience which celebrates the past, present and future of Farsons and its brands. The latest brewing and packaging processes and latest innovations will be showcased while providing a new generation of innovative workspace solutions for creative and emerging business enterprises. 

Before proceeding on to the detailed design phases of the finalised project, the Board will be considering the way forward to secure the necessary MEPA, Transport Malta and other regulatory approvals.

The Board will also be engaging with financial service providers on the best way to structure and fund the project, as well as with other potential stakeholders, such as developers in the Mrieħel area and Government agencies which own substantial areas of land in the vicinity.

                                            

Bio:  Ian Ritchie

CBE RA Dip Arch (dist) ARB RIBA RIAI FSFE FRSA HonFRIAS HonFAIA Hon D Litt

Ian Ritchie is the Director of Ian Ritchie Architects Ltd (est.1981) and co-founded Rice Francis Ritchie (RFR) design engineers, Paris (1981). Ian Ritchie Architects has ‘sister’ practices in Leipzig, Lisbon and Paris.

These practises have realised and contributed to major new architectural and engineering works throughout Europe, including the Reina Sofia Museum of Modern Art in Madrid, the Leipzig Messe Glass Hall, the Louvre Sculpture Courts and Pyramids, La Villette Cité des Sciences, the Jubilee Line Extension and International Regatta Centre in London, The Spire in Dublin and the Royal Shakespeare Company Courtyard Theatre. Current projects include a soccer stadium, a major neuroscience centre at University College London, Royal Academy of Music’s new opera theatre in London, and a masterplan in Edinburgh.

Ian has acted as design master planner for the Natural History Museum and The British Museum, and for city centre sites in London, Birmingham, Copenhagen, Dublin, Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as conceiving and designing international exhibitions for major European galleries.

He currently advises the Royal Shakespeare Company (design); Backstage Trust (theatre); The Ove Arup Foundation (education), the European Construction Technology Platform (research agenda); The Dean, School of Architecture Design & Construction University of Greenwich; The President, Columbia University NY Manhattanville Project; The Director of the Centre for Urban Science and Progress New York University.

Ian is a Royal Academician, member of the Akademie der Künste, the Honorary Visiting Professor at Liverpool University, and Emeritus Commissioner Commission for Architecture & the Built Environment (CABE). He has been Royal Academy of Arts’ Professor of Architecture and Chair of its Collections & Library Committee, Visiting Professor of Architecture at Moscow and Vienna Universities, Special Professor at Leeds University faculty of Engineering and taught at the AA and University of Westminster in London. He is a Fellow of the Society of Façade Engineering.

He is invited regularly to international juries, chairing several, including the French Government ‘Nouveaux Jeunes Albums’ (2004), RIBA Stirling Prize (2006) & Doolan Awards Scotland (2009).

His practice has received more than 60 national and international awards for his projects and shortlisted four times for the RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist and the European Mies Van der Rohe Prize. Ian has personally been honoured with a CBE, the French Academie d’Architecture Grand Silver Medal for Innovation – the first foreign architect and joins a small and illustrious list including Candela, Nervi, Buckminster Fuller, Prouvé and Rice; the Iritecna Design Prize for Europe; Eric Lyons Memorial Award for European Housing and the Commonwealth Association of Architects Award for the Advancement of Architecture. He lectures regularly on art, urbanism, regeneration, light, structures, glass technology and innovation, delivering them at prestigious venues including the Royal Academy of Arts, Tate Gallery, Royal Society of Arts, RIBA, ICA, Hayward Gallery, Pompidou Centre, European Commission, New York Architecture Centre and on behalf of the British Council, CABE, the UK Lord Chancellor and the British Assn. of Science.

His practice has a reputation for the unexpected, sustainable design, innovation and has undertaken research and development for major international companies including Corus, Pilkington, Mero and Seele.

His firm’s architecture is regularly published in journals and books worldwide. His own books include: (well) Connected Architecture, Ian Ritchie, Berlin/London 1994; The biggest glass palace in the world, Ian Ritchie & Ingerid Helsing Almaas, New York 1997; Alessandro Rocca: Ian Ritchie, Technoecologia, Milano 1998 and Whitney Library of Design, New York 1999; Plymouth Theatre Royal Production Centre, London 2003; The Spire London 2004; The RSC Courtyard Theatre, London 2006; The Leipzig Book of Drawings, RA, London 2007; Lines (an illustrated book of poetry), RA, London 2010. Being: An Architect, RA, London 2014.