RIBA Silver Medal Nomination

Ting Yan Yeo, Master of Architecture 2015/16

Transforming Marsa Power Station in Malta

The thesis maps the infrastructural systems of Malta and evaluates their impact on the environmental, economic and political ecologies on the island. Focusing on the decommissioned Power Station in Marsa near Valetta, the project develops a bioremediation strategy for the reuse of postindustrial landscapes. The deployment of an integrated set of architectural, technological and atmospheric tactics transforms the former turbine hall into a climate machine, capable of producing diverse weather conditions on demand.

Marsa Power Station, the main source of electricity in Malta from 1953 until its decommission in 2015, has witnessed a controversial debate about its value: with one party arguing for a complete erasure, and the other campaigning for its preservation as an landmark of historic significance.
The thesis proposes a mycelium-based detox strategy for the heavily polluted site, remediating the environmental damages of the past and enabling the future redevelopment of the postindustrial landscape. Whilst first demolition works have already started, the project proposes the conservation of the 180m long space of the turbine hall as the only remnant of the site’s industrial history.

The building is stripped back to its structural skeleton framing the biggest existing interior space in Malta. The naked structure is equipped with a multi-layered façade system that responds to the external environmental forces and that mediates between the uncontrolled exterior and the controlled interior conditions. The climate capsule is fitted-out with technical services corresponding to the anatomy of the former industrial mechanisms: standard water sprinklers, HVAC systems and fog machines are re-purposed in order to convert the hall into a weather machine, capable of replicating the whole range of the earth’s climatic conditions on demand.

Author: TY Yeo
Tutor: Gabor Stark

About the RIBA Student Prizes
The Royal Institute of British Architects champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members. We provide the standards, training, support and recognition that put our 40,000 members - in the UK and overseas - at the peak of their profession.

Established in 1836 when the Institute of British Architects awarded the first Silver Medal for best architectural essay, the President's Medals are the RIBA’s oldest awards and are regarded as the most prestigious international awards in architectural education.

The current format of the awards dates to 1986, when the Institute replaced a large number of student awards, scholarships and prizes with the Bronze and Silver Medals to reward outstanding design work. In 2001, a Dissertation Medal was added to reward accomplished written work.

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