Hoteì Russia, the studio of architect and interior designer Svetozar Andreev in collaboration with Elena Britanishskaya, made the local news lately after they suggested that, in place of the collapsed Azure Window, they would build a steel structure that mirrored surfaces having the same size of the original limestone window. They call the project ‘The Heart of Malta’ and intend to have over 5,000 square metres of exhibition space laid out over five spiral floors inside the structure.
In Gozo, there are many who are already in favour of this development. Even an online poll on Lovinmalta shows that 42 per cent are in favour, 20 per cent are not sure and 38 per cent are against.
What is not being said is that, if implemented, this project would cause an underwater chaos. The whole area is a marine park, so any intervention should be avoided. The depth of the sea where any foundations would have to rest are over 50 metres deep and would destroy what remains of the Azure Window underwater.
In the architects’ online presentations (www.hotei-russia.com/theheartofmalta), the steel structure is shown stuck to the mainland with two steel arms embedded into the rock. Maybe they do not intend to have foundations underwater and the whole structure would ‘hang’ above the sea level from these steel arms.
Have they been to Dwejra during the huge storms that hit the area and which first formed the Azure Window and then destroyed it? I have taken the liberty of superimposing the steel structure on a photo I had of the Azure Window taken in the 1980s during in a huge storm with waves higher than 10 metres hitting the Window. Would the ‘Heart of Malta’ steel window be able to resist such fury?