At the center of the island of Malta, at the edge of the town of Naxxar is ‘Villa Castro’ — a property reimagined by Architecture Project and Jens Bruenslow that stands as a testament to island history and architectural ingenuity.
The careful restoration took several years, together German-Maltese architect Jens Bruenslow and Maltese firm Architecture Projects worked to rejuvenate original features of the palazzo whilst accommodating the needs of a modern family. Located on the perimeter of an Urban Conservation Area, the surrounds and views of the villa had become compromised by increased development on the island. Outside, the garden, along with two internal courtyards, were preserved. When plans to acquire the remaining portion of the garden next to the existing one failed, a solution to the apartment block that sprung up there was found in an unusual way. They designed an extension, the architects explain, and “grafted [it] onto the boundary wall to mitigate the negative visual impact of the recent neighboring block of apartments.” Inside, the process took a little longer — they removed recent structural additions to ensure design synthesis between the villa’s past and present. Arches were unblocked, and additional openings were added, allowing sunshine to flood the building. Externally, the modern additions to the villa do not pretend to blend with its historic facade. The simple volumes are clad in slender panels of wood, complementing the existing building without overriding its tradition with their modernity.