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Between 2006 and 2016, the imposing fortress known as the Cittadella on the Mediterranean island of Gozo underwent a major restoration. This visionary project went far beyond simply repairing the historic structure. It integrated a host of modern features that enhance its safety, accessibility and beauty. Q-railing were proud to be able to make an important contribution by supplying outdoor railings with infills of steel web and railing lighting.
Gozo is a small island to the north of Malta. Its picturesque capital, Victoria, is dominated by the vast Cittadella – a stronghold with a unique historical and cultural importance. Its walls were originally constructed in the medieval period, from Roman remains. They encompass the island’s baroque cathedral, as well as a complex of other buildings and ruins. Over the centuries, the Order of St John, Napoleon and the British have all occupied the Cittadella. Their actions took a toll on the mighty fortifications. The assault from pollution and neglect was slower, but equally damaging. By the twenty-first century, the fabric was in very poor shape. However, in 2006, plans were drawn up to restore and revitalise the Cittadella. A budget of 6 million euro was assigned, and work got underway in 2008. We were engaged to supply outdoor railings in 2016, towards the end of the regeneration programme. Our design incorporated stainless steel handrails with LED lighting for improved safety and atmosphere.
Malta’s Ministry for Gozo handed responsibility for the project to Martin Xuereb & Associates (MXa). This local architectural practice supervised the implementation of a multi-stage masterplan. It included restoration of the outer walls and various facades, conversion of an underground reservoir into a visitors’ centre, remodelling of public spaces, preservation of ruins and provision of outdoor lighting.
Archaeological considerations were paramount throughout the project, and sensitive redesign was often called for. However, one of the key objectives of the masterplan was to realise the Cittadella’s potential as a tourist attraction, and this required the addition of new structures. The necessary stairways, walkways and infrastructure were, of course, created using modern materials such as steel and concrete. But architect Martin Xuereb saw this as an opportunity rather than a challenge, and, in fact, the counterpoint between ancient and modern is one of the most exciting aspects of the finished restoration. The outdoor railings that we supplied have an industrial feel that enhances this contrast effect, thanks to their steel-web infills and lighted handrails.
The restored Cittadella allows members of the public, including disabled people, to freely move around the historic site, enjoying a close encounter with the ancient structures. Xuereb has ensured that the network of open areas and access routes is not only ultra-safe but also stunningly attractive, and we’re proud to say that the outdoor railings make a significant contribution.
The Q-line railing system was used to create the stainless steel balustrades. Alongside medieval stonework, Q-line’s modern minimalist look is extremely striking. A brushed stainless steel finish completes the effect. The designers also opted for an anti-climb handrail, which has angled handrail supports. This lends the railing a distinctive look and contributes to the safety of visitors.
Steel-webinfills,created using Easy Q-web, were added to the Q-line railings. Woven from 1.5 mm strands of 316 stainless steel, Easy Q-web is extremely robust and has an appealing industrial look. It is also easy to take apart and reform. As a result, local installers Anvil & Forge had no problems preparing infill for complex stair balustrades.
For added safety, and to create a sense of atmosphere, designers opted to include railing lighting in the handrails of the outdoor railings.Single Q-lights spotlights were installed on the underside of the handrails, midway between each post.