Bridging the gap between practicality and art, the exhibition celebrates everything the Faculty of the Built Environment does at the University of Malta.
I have been particularly fascinated by the Society of Architecture and Civil Engineering Students ever since the very first time I came across this student organization.
SACES is vibrant and creative; the organization works, and the passion behind its drive augurs well for Malta’s architecture and, indeed, the entire local construction field.
This exhibition offers the opportunity for our university students to showcase their work to their colleagues and the public. It presents their skills and talent, supplying fresh and innovative ideas for our built environment. It is of utmost importance to SACES that works such as these are experienced by the public, as they represent highly relevant issues, as well as practical, creative solutions which lie at the very essence of the architect’s professional calling.
These projects represent students’ ideals when rethinking and designing our spaces. Once they set out to work in the profession, they will help bring about the much-needed change in how our built environment is developing. Events such as these offer an opportunity for the creativity of students to be communicated to society through designs, sketches, digital graphics, and architectural models. Students are given the opportunity to display their upcoming interpretation of spaces and structures, and what ambitions there are for the world we live in.
During my visit, I was happy to notice the emergence of eco-friendly architectural ideals and sustainable projects as a mainstream drive. The need to reduce our carbon footprint is no longer a cliché but the only way we can survive as geographically vulnerable islands. We can only continue to exist if we develop an innovative, sustainable, and carbon-neutral construction sector. The government is committed to these aims.
As future architects, you take on the responsibility to create projects that respect the spatial realities of their immediate neighbourhood; you need to weigh every project’s design and aesthetical impact and take decisions that deliver carbon-neutral solutions. I encourage you to create and work on projects that make them feel proud.
Create milestones, not eyesores.
It sounds like a tall order, but it’s the only way to go.
Preserve your sense of professional pride and steer away from greed; above all, work to preserve your country’s historical and environmental heritage. Your professional insight is of the essence to discern what should be submitted for construction planning approval purposes or not. This is your call as architects; people look up to your profession for direction. Let’s steer our construction sector to greener and more attractive postures. Your help is crucial.
Construction should be about making people’s lives better. However, sadly, our news media is often riddled with stories that demonize development. This type of reporting is most often unfair and incorrect, yet one must acknowledge that people out there have had enough of mediocrity. Some developers, industry professionals, and workers are disregarding the law and disrespecting their neighbouring communities. All this places the entire building and development sector in a negative light, which is unfair for the many hardworking professionals and tradespeople who give their absolute best.
Construction and planning are your future livelihood, and we need your ideas and energy to help us develop solutions and new ideas. This is why the Architecture Student EXPO offers more than just hope. We may be an island, but our insularity is no limit to our potential. Architects must take the lead and function as catalysts for change in the sector. In every SACES member, I see an opportunity for our country.
It is reassuring to see our future professionals studying and gearing up to develop functional and aesthetically pleasing projects – as well as ecologically sustainable ones. We need more creative architects and civil engineers in Malta. We need to innovate and become more akin to our European partners in this regard. For instance, our architects can learn a lot from their German, British, Italian and Spanish peers.
However, dear students, a degree is never the end of the line. There is always room for advancement, and I encourage practising architects – even the most experienced ones – to pursue a regime of continuous professional education. Updating one’s skills through structured training and, and why not, acquiring new ones, is the hallmark of the new reality which affects all sectors of our economy, as it does with other professions. Why should architects be any different?
Architects in Malta should keep abreast with the latest technological advancements, use of new, renewable materials, design styles, and building practices if we are to succeed and win tomorrow’s challenges.
We cannot afford to repeat the misgivings of the recent and not-so-recent history where construction and planning are concerned.
The Architecture Student EXPO is a celebration of everything the Faculty for the Built Environment does at the University of Malta, and I commend them for their work. SACES is a shining example of how our students can put into practice what they learn and adapt from other countries’ success stories. This is the way to go. The more initiatives of this type there are, the better.
I encourage everyone to support our students as they are an essential partner in our collective effort to make Malta’s future evermore successful.