Spinola Park was a unique project for a number of reasons, but primarily because of its communicative and social point of departure. The site is located on a busy road in the heart of the bustling area of St. Julian’s and connects the St. Julian’s/Sliema coastal road with a main arterial road leading to the North and South extents of the Island.
Project Name: Spinola Park
Studio Name: DeMicoli & Associates
The client’s brief was to create a mixed-use development with offices and a large underground car park that would service not only the development, but respond to a dire need for parking spaces in the surrounding area. The site had originally been zoned for residential use with a height limitation of 3 to 4 floors. However, after extensive consultation with the surrounding neighbours and due to the heavy traffic flow past the site, a commercial use became more appropriate. Through a Planning Control application, the zoning was changed successfully from residential to commercial.
Before any design took place, the client engaged with the community and neighbours to see how the project could benefit the area. Out of these meetings, the project grew organically. The neighbours included nearby residents, the St. Julian’s Parish Church, the Local Council and owners of commercial businesses and eateries close to the site. New links were introduced through two public lifts from the back street in the village core and through two public lifts to the Parish Church. This provided a vital short cut through the building for the ageing population in the village core, to avoid walking up a steep hill. Likewise, patrons of the Church could also make use of the car park for services.
It was important that the project took a sensitive approach to the valley in front and surrounding context. In order to respect the profile of the landmark Parish Church, the building was terraced. Out of this design, large terraces were formed, that provided external areas that could be enjoyed by the occupants of the building. The addition of deep fibreglass planters on these terraces, a colour palette of earthy tones and a low building elevation softened the barrier between the valley in front and the dense residential area behind the site.
The design implemented several positive environmental considerations. The envelope of the building is well insulated with double glazed apertures and structural openings have been covered with foam insulation improving the climate control factor. Natural ventilation passes from the back street where the village core is located, through the building and car park and out to the main road. This means that any fumes generated in the car park are extracted away from the residences and onto the main road instead. The air-conditioning and fresh air system of the building was also designed with a heat recovery unit to improve the systems energy efficiency. Water generated by the ACs are collected, mixed with rainwater and then utilized in the building irrigation system. In addition, the existing rock on site was recycled as aggregate in the use of lower grade concrete.
The Spinola Park project includes: a car park of 450 spaces, office rental space of 11,000 sqm, a supermarket of 2,500 sqm, a food court of 1,600 sqm, a retail area of 1,400 sqm and other complimentary amenities such as a fitness club, child day care and more.”