Building MUZA at Auberge d’Italie

Building a wall from blocks

The chosen project was announced in September 2014 and was one of eighteen submissions presented in response to an international competition coordinated by Heritage Malta.


The Project at Auberge d’Italie

MUŻA is located at Auberge d’Italie; a historic site in the World Heritage Site of Valletta, Malta’s Capital city, where the first Malta Museum was established in 1924. The site falls within the footprint of the Renzo Piano City Gate Project which includes an open air theatre and a centre for creativity. The building was the seat of the Italian knights of the Order of St John. The building had been designated as the seat of the then Valletta Museum in 1920 and the national collections, including the then Fine Arts Section, were displayed here until the end of World War Two.

The proposal was developed by a multi-national team including three companies namely DTR, CYAN Engineering and Martello Media. DTR is a Maltese multi-disciplinary firm with particular expertise in architectural design for local historic contexts, civil and structural engineering and interior design. Cyan Engineering is a Maltese company specialised in merging contemporary building designs within historic contexts and Martello Media is an Irish multi-disciplinary team specialising in exhibition design and interpretative planning. The team also includes additional Maltese expertise who will be working in tandem with Heritage Malta’s recognised specialists and expertise on this new museum typology, purposely developed for Malta.


MUZA Section A-A








MUŻA is a self-sustainable, energy efficient institution with potential zero-carbon footprint and significant energy cost savings through carefully developed sustainable measures. These measures, most of which concern the design, layout and narrative of display, include the following measures:

i. Passive conservation measures purposely developed from a clear understanding of the building including in-built air ducts and traditional waterproofing methods;

ii. Priority use of natural resources including natural lighting to illuminate the building;

iii. High energy-efficient power consumables including light fixtures and air-conditioning systems;

iv. Generation of energy through natural resources including the installation of solar photovoltaic panels. MUŻA, within the remit of the proposed carbon-neutral museum strategy, has adopted micro-climatic conditions and conservation parameters appropriate for the display of works of art according to established international standards and criteria. Active climatic control, including air-conditioning, has only been considered for specific problematic seasonal excursions, such as during hot and cold spells in summer and winter.

These energy efficient conservation values concern the materials used in the construction of the new museum so as to address sustainability throughout the project development phase.