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Guest Lecture Program 2013/14

13th March 2014

Design and Technologies
Tom van Malderen & Chris Briffa

Tom van Malderen, Architect and CEO of Architecture Project, Malta
Chris Briffa, Founder of Chris Briffa Architects, Valetta, Malta

AUR Guest Lecture Program 2013/14

Nastavljajući ciklus gostujućih predavanja 2013-2014 u okviru programa AUR (Arhitektura Utopija Realizam) predstavljamo rad dva malteška arhitektonska biroa: AP – Architecture Project i Chris Briffa Architects.

Gostovanjem arhitekata Toma van Malderena i Krisa Brife, generacijski bliskih arhitekata, ali profesionalno istovremeno i slično i različito orjentisanih arhitektonskih praksi, steći ćemo uvid u savremeni malteški profesionalni kontekst.

Ideja je da se ovakvim konceptom dvostrukog predavanja proširi forma izlaganja ka formi okruglog stola i stvore uslovi za diskusiju koja bi mogla otvoriti pitanje ambivalentnosti arhitektonskih tema i nacionalnih produkcija u Evropi, danas.



Tom van Malderen, Architect and CEO of Architecture Project, Malta


Place and time:
Univerzitet u Beogradu, Arhitektonski fakultet, Amfiteatar
Četvrtak, 13. mart 2014. u 18:00

After the architecture critic and historian Hans Ibelings visited our office he wrote about our work that “The idea of variability is probably the pre-eminent AP-answer to context, a context that is determined by a sense of permanence rather than a dynamic one based on changeability. The very impartiality and lightness of flexible solutions characterizes the work of AP”.

During the lecture I will present a number of our project-stories. Many of these came together in Malta and especially in the capital Valletta, which has one of the highest concentrations of historic monuments in the world. It is difficult to escape from history and the isolation typical to an island makes the presence of history even more tangible. Through the presented projects I want to show how our answers to context found its roots in this historic environment and how we simultaneously explored and translated these answers in our projects beyond Valletta and Malta.

Tom van Malderen

After obtaining a Master in Architecture at the St. Lucas Art Academy in Brussels (1997) Tom worked as an architect in different positions in Belgium, the UK and Malta. His work involves both traditional architectural practice and exploring architecture through writing, installations and lecturing. Tom is a correspondent for A10 Magazine and likes to get involved in organizations with great people and strong ideas, like Malta Contemporary Art foundation and Kinemastik International Short Film Festival.

Architecture Project (AP):
Is a network of architectural practices with offices in Malta (1991), Croatia (2005) and the UK (2007). We see our practice as a laboratory for ideas and use our diverse backgrounds as a tool for creating contextual solutions for a diversity of environments. Architecture, Interior design, Restoration Theory & Practice and Education are the core areas of expertise of AP’s team of around 50 professionals. Alongside our practice we have been able to develop an extensive teaching activity visiting many international universities. We contemplate space as deeply rooted in a cultural and socio-political history thus acknowledging what we like to refer to as social space; a space that is ultimately experienced and not merely objectively observed.

Chris Briffa Architects, Valletta


Chris Briffa, Architect, Malta

Chris Briffa Architects

Place and time:
Univerzitet u Beogradu, Arhitektonski fakultet, Amfiteatar
Četvrtak, 13. mart 2014. u 19:00

A talk by Maltese architect Chris Briffa about the stories behind the most recent projects completed by his Chris Briffa Architects studio.

Born on Malta in 1974, the son of a gifted carpenter, Chris Briffa completed his architecture degree at The University of Malta in 1999. Whilst roaming throughout European EASA workshops in his student days, he furthered his studies at Virginia Tech (USA), and Politechnico di Milano (Italy); and travelled extensively throughout northern Italy before establishing his studio.

Established in 2004 in Valletta, Malta, the studio’s work has become synonymous with skilful design which moves away from stylistic mannerisms and is more concerned with proportion, materials and detail.

Chris Briffa portret
Chris Briffa

In a few years, their relatively extensive project types have shown an innate capability of solving puzzles, of putting details together, making them flow from line to pattern, from plain to textured surface. No detail too complex, no project too small. Their projects range from original product design to the complete styling and restructuring of large industrial buildings. Recent projects also include the restoration of buildings reinterpreted to serve new purposes, such as a formerly nondescript public convenience which was turned into a haven of reds, greys and reflective surfaces which doubles up as an art exhibition space. Or a stark black box which was inserted into a would-be tunnel in the capital’s fortifications and transformed into a hip wine bar. Or better still, a haunted palazzo in a medieval town is converted into a luxury guest-house with a unique roof-top experience.

Whether for commercial, residential, public or private purposes, their vision flawlessly merges historical buildings and new spaces with a contemporary yet multifaceted language that integrates passive-energy design concerns with simplified elegance.

While Briffa is a design tutor at the University of Malta, the studio is often involved in the organisation of lectures, workshops and exhibitions aimed at creating architectural design awareness on this historical Mediterranean Island.