Annual Departmental Reports 2008/9
Faculty for the Built Environment
The Faculty for the Built Environment, (previously Faculty of Architecture and Civil
Engineering) is currently composed of three Departments, the Department of
Architecture and Urban Design, the Department of Building and Civil Engineering, and
since February 2009, the Department of the Built Heritage (previously Institute for
Masonry and Construction Research). In 2008, the Faculty embarked on an ambitious restructuring programme, which is envisaged to radically change the Faculty’s approach to
the training of professionals and scientists working in the area of the Built Environment.
This development plan, which was successfully submitted for approval by Senate,
envisages a migration from the current main degree programme, a five-year
undergraduate course leading to the degree of Bachelor of Engineering and Architecture,
to a three-stage course structure, in line with the Bologna Agreement, namely, a one-year
Diploma in Foundation Studies, a first tier three-year Bachelor degree, and a number of
second tier two-year professional Masters degrees, which will lead to professional status
in Malta as well as in the European Union, as well as other specialization masters
degrees. The Faculty will obviously also continue to develop research Masters and
Doctorate degrees.
This document is a compilation of reports submitted by the Heads of the three
Departments, outlining the activities of the relative Department for the outgoing year, and
including a comprehensive list of publications of all members of the Department, a
synopsis of projects involving members of the Department, which are wholly or partially
externally funded, a list of conferences/seminars/meetings attended abroad by members
of the Department during term time, and an outline of Department’s collaboration with
third parties.
Department of Architecture and Urban Design
1. Staff
During the academic year 2008/9, the Department staff consisted of the head, Prof. Denis
De Lucca and 6 full-time members of staff. In addition the Department has been served
by 5 approved part-time members of staff at TR4 level and 12 visiting lecturers. The
Executive Officer in charge of administration was Mr Jonathan Apap.
2. Teaching Activities
The Department was responsible for teaching Design and giving the time-tabled lectures
to 81 first year students, 69 second year students, 54 third year students, 30 fourth year
(Architecture and Urban Design Streams) students, and 24 fifth year (Architecture and
Urban Design Streams) students. Prof. Paolo Brescia of the University of Bari was
invited to run a course on colour applications in architecture.
3. Research Activities
The following staff members have been engaged in the following research projects:
Prof. Denis De Lucca:
See report of International Institute for Baroque Studies
Dr Vincent Buhagiar:
Environmental monitoring of microclimate and energy auditing at Birkirkara tal-Ftieh
housing project.
Hygro-thermal study of thermal conductivity of globigerina limestone & concrete
blockwork in the present Maltese built environment.
Assessment of thermal conductivity of conventional flat roofs and ventilated horizontal
cavity roofs in Malta.
The lighting and thermal environment of the urban fabric of Valletta (in connection with
Cardiff University).
Mr Antonio Mollicone:
Scienza della Rappresentazioni e del Rilievo (in connection with University “La
Sapienza” of Rome).
Dr Ruth Bianco:
The connexion of the geo-spatial and temporal to explore different permutations of space.
Tidal Dialogues: an ongoing project interrogating the line between land and sea explored
through digital and paper media including a series of video installation and drawing
Transitory sculpture: a project exploring the boundaries of sculpture traversing domestic
and public interventional settings; planning collaborative project and publication work.
Performative drawing:
an ongoing project exploring the traditional floor game
“passju/hopscotch” within a wider context of transculturation, interactive audiences and
public sculpture. Possible exhibition in Serbia.
Printmaking: paperworks exploring etching and embossing.
Currently preparing proposal for MA in Spatial Studies (Architecture and Fine Art) on
instructions of head of department
Dr Joseph H. Spiteri:
Accessible Design Standards.
Reasonableness in Physical Accessibility.
Impact of the recession on construction professionals.
Emergency management and persons with disability.
Method statements for the local construction project management.
Accessible Housing.
Dr Edwin Mintoff:
An ongoing study of the potential of urban renewal development in Malta taking several
towns and villages as case studies.
Dr Paul Gauci:
Co-ordination of planning aspects of Valletta Masterplan Evaluation of the
Environmental impact of the Natural Flood Relief project improving the Quality of
suburban building stock for cost action TUO701 (EU).
Mr Anton Grech:
Investigation of various aspects of artistic production.
Artistic practice and research in Drawing, Painting, Printmaking and Sculpture.
Design and Production of … objects.
4. Publications
Prof Denis De Lucca – See annual report 2008-2009 of the International Institute for
Baroque Studies. Also Faccati Antiki ta’ Bini f’Hal Kirkop in Hal Kirkop u l-inhawi talmadwar (ed. HCR Vella), Malta, 2008.
Dr Paul Gauci – co-author of the Eco-Gozo Vision document.
Mr Lino Bianco – Co-editor of Third Generation Environmental Human Rights special
issue of Mediterranean Journal of Human Rights, Vol 13, No2 (2009).
Dr Vincent Buhagiar – Co-editor of INNOVA – Innovative Building Technology
Quentaly Journal.
5. Conferences
Prof Denis De Lucca attended and presented a paper at an International Conference held
in Noto, Sicily, for which see the 2008-2009 report of the International Institute for
Baroque Studies.
Dr Vincent Buhagiar attended and presented papers at the SB8 Sustainable Building
Conference in Melbourne, Australia (Sept 2008); The SUPS10 Sharjah Urban Planning
Symposium at the American University of Sharjah, UAE (November 2008); The
COSTC23-STSM in Ljubljana (April 2009) and the PLEA09-Passive Low Energy
Architecture meeting in Quebec (June 2009).
Dr Buhagiar also participated at the
COSTC23 and COSTTUO701 meetings held in Belgrade (May 2009), the COSTC25
meeting held in Naples (May, 2009) and the COSTC23 meeting held in Porto (September
Dr Ruth Bianco
Exhibitions in Belgium, Spain and France:
Video Spectacle – Dans la Nuit des images (Grand Palais, Paris, December 2008).
Video Spectacle – The World next door (MCA, Malta, June 2009).
Video Installation – Soho (Remont Gallery, Belgrade, July 2009).
Prof. Denis De Lucca
Head of Department
Department of Building and Civil Engineering
Staff Members:
The Department of Building and Civil Engineering currently has the following Resident
members of staff:
Prof.Alex Torpiano
Perit J.Falzon
Perit F.Montesin
Perit D.Xuereb
Perit J.Valentino
Perit C.Barbara
Perit R.Borg
Perit A.Mifsud
Perit Kevin Gatt
Dr.Josette Camilleri
(Head of Department)
Senior Lecturer
Senior Lecturer
(Senior Lecturer TR5)
(Senior Lecturer TR5)
(Assistant Lecturer TR4)
(Assistant Lecturer TR4)
(Assistant Lecturer TR4)
(Assistant Lecturer TR4)
(Assistant Lecturer TR4)
(Lecturer T9)
(Lecturer TR6)
Over the period of this Report, Prof. H.Semar and Prof. K.Muller were appointed as
Visiting Professors in connection with their work on the Masters of Science degree
programme in Road Engineering, offered with the financial support of the Awtorita’
Dwar it-Trasport.
A number of Visiting members of staff were also appointed to work with the Department,
including Perit Jacques Borg Barthet, Mr.A.Darmenia, Perit Odette Lewis, Ing. Paul
Vassallo, Perit C.Cacopardo.
In addition to being the Head of Department, over the period of the Report, Prof
A.Torpiano was appointed as Dean of the Faculty, Member of the Senate of the
University of Malta, Member of the Council of the University of Malta, Chairman of the
International Institute of Baroque Studies, Member of the Board of the Institute of
Sustainable Energy, and Member of the Board of the Institute of Sustainable
Perit Ruben Borg, (Sustainable Construction) and Perit Odette Lewis, (Transport
Engineering) are currently reading for a PhD degree, whilst Perit A.Mifsud, (Soil
Mechanics), and Perit K.Gatt, (Water Governance), have commenced the process of
research to develop a project proposal at PhD level.
Teaching Activities
The main teaching activities of the Department are focussed on the five-year programme
leading to the degree of Bachelor of Engineering and Architecture. During the period of
this Report, the Department also concluded the last stage of a Masters degree programme
in Road Engineering, partly financed by ADT.
In the undergraduate degree course, the Department is responsible for two-thirds of the
taught study-units over the first three years, involving just over 200 students. The
Department, subsequently, takes full responsibility for one of the Elective Blocks of
study, followed over the last two years, catering for approximately 26 students per year.
Eight students followed the MSc course in Road Engineering.
In addition, Prof.A.Torpiano also acted as Masters Thesis supervisor for three students
following the degree leading to the Masters in Conservation Technology of Masonry
Buildings, previously offered by the Institute for Masonry and Construction Research.
The External Examiner for the final year of the B.E.&A degree course (Engineering
Stream) was Prof. David Nethercot, Imperial College London.
In addition, Prof. Patrick Sullivan, City University London, was invited to give a talk, in
October 2009, on Design for Fire in Indeterminate Structures.
Departmental Collaboration, and Projects, with Third Parties.
The Department has sought to develop links with a number of local organisations, in
order to seek support for research work, which is considered particularly relevant to
Following an agreement with the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs, a Study
Group was set up to analyze Guidelines prepared by the Austrian Recycled Construction
Materials Association, within a Project on the Standardization of Recycled Building
Materials, on Construction Materials made from Recycled Demolition Waste and on
Recycling-Oriented Deconstruction. The objective of the Study Group was to assess the
guidelines referred to above, consider their suitability for the local industry, and, also, to
identify any work that would be required in order to provide the technical information
required by the guidelines. The Study Group also took part in the Technical Committee
set up by Malta Standards Authority to elaborate any eventual guidelines into a formal
standard. The Group also took part, mainly via the participation of Perit Ruben Borg, on
the Report: Dealing with Construction and Demolition Waste: Ten Proposals for Action,
compiled by the Building Industry Consultative Council, and submitted to the Waste
Strategy Committee, within the Ministry of Resources and Rural Affairs, as part of the
consultation process for the drafting of a Solid Waste Management Strategy for the
Maltese Islands.
A related collaboration was initiated with WasteServ, to address two main themes,
namely the potential for utilisation of pulverized fuel ash waste material, and of the
potential for utilisation of imploded glass waste, in the construction industry, and
particularly as cement or sand replacement in concrete.
This aspect of the Department’s interest, in waste materials and recycling, is reflected in
ongoing work by Dr.D. Buhagiar and Perit Franco Montesin on technologies for recycled
stone, by Perit Ruben Borg on life-cycle analyses of building materials, in the context of
a sustainable construction process, and by Dr.Josette Camilleri on waste materials in
cement replacement. This interest is also reflected in a number of under-graduate
research projects (dissertations) addressing related themes.
The issue of water resources was also considered to be an important area of research.
Collaboration with Malta Resources Authority, and the Water Services Corporation
was initiated, mainly via the initiatives of Perit Kevin Gatt. A number of post-graduate
dissertations were completed, and presented to these entities, as a result of which the
Department is now exploring a longer term programme of research.
The Department of Building and Civil Engineering was represented in the Building
Industry Consultative Council, (BICC) by Dr.D.Buhagiar, and by Perit F.Montesin.
Furthermore, members of staff in the Department were the main protagonists in a
Committee, (National Eurocodes Implementation Committee), set up by the Malta
Standards Authority and the BICC, to draft the National Annexes necessary for the
introduction of Eurocodes in Malta, in 2010. The members of staff who are directly
involved include Prof.Alex Torpiano, Dr.D.Buhagiar, Dr.Marc Bonello, Perit John
Valentino, Perit Adrian Mifsud, Perit Ruben Borg, and Perit David Xuereb, which
membership constitutes around three quarters of the committee. This is an important
national project, since it would not only mark the first time, in Malta’s history, that local
structural engineering codes will become available, but it is also part of a process of
harmonisation of structural engineering codes, over the whole of the European Union.
The Eurocodes are envisaged to become a major structural engineering suite of codes, at
global level. This involvement of the Departmental staff in the implementation process,
was also complemented by changes made in the teaching of the respective subjects, to
embrace the new codes.
Prof.A.Torpiano has pursued strong relations with the Kamra Tal-Periti, as the local
organisation that represents the profession, particularly in discussions related to the
Faculty Development Plan. Consensus was achieved on the need for the re-structuring
proposed, and for the direction the Faculty was taking. The Kamra tal-Periti also
organised a seminar of Professional Ethics for final year students following the studies
leading to the B.E.&A. Degree. The link with the Kamra is further strengthened by the
election of Perit Ruben Borg to the Council of the Kamra.
Prof.A.Torpiano was appointed by the Minister of Resources and Rural Affairs on the
Periti Warranting Board, the Board that not only oversees the academic and
professional training of Maltese aspiring professionals, but which, with the new EU
Services and Professional Qualifications Directives, is also assessing qualifications of EU
Nationals desiring to establish themselves, or otherwise offer their professional services,
in Malta.
Research Activities and Publications
Thermal Performance of External Renders Applied to Concrete Blockwork, Andrew
Sapienza, Alex Torpiano & Vincent Buhagiar, paper presented at the PLEA09-Passive
Low Energy Architecture meeting in Quebec, June 2009.
Valentino, J., Gatt, N., Bonnici, H., Spiteri, S., ‘Vilhena Palace and underlying bastions
– A multi-disciplinary approach in defining a consolidation intervention’, Geografia
Fisica e Dinamica Quaternaria 31(2008) 99-105
R.P.Borg & S. Marinkowic (2008), "Life Cycle Assessment of Concrete", Proceedings
of Conference, Sustainability of Constructions, Technical University Dresden Germany,
R.P.Borg (2008), "Assessment of a Bridge Structure, Demolition & Recycling of
Materials", Proceedings of Conference, Sustainability of Constructions, Technical
University Dresden Germany, (2008).
M. Glauman, A. Getachew & R.P.Borg, (2008), "Basic LCA (Life Cycle Analysis)
Application. Residential Building Case Study - Groskar, Sweden" Proceedings of
Conference, Sustainability of Construction, Technical University Dresden Germany,
R.P.Borg, M. Veljkovic & Z. Plewako (2008), "Eco-Efficiency" Introduction to Chapter
3, in Sustainability of Constructions, Proceedings of Conference, Sustainability of
Construction, Technical University Dresden Germany, (2008).
R.P.Borg, R.C.Borg & G.Borg Axisa, (2008), "The Seismic Risk of Buildings in Malta",
in Urban Habitat Constructions Under Catastrophic Events, Editors Mazzolani F. et al,
University of Malta (2008)
Mazzolani F., Mistakidis E., Borg R.P., Byfield M., de Matteis G., Dubina D., Indirli M.,
Mandara A., Muzeau J.P., Wald F., Wang Y., (2008), "Urban Habitat Constructions
Under Catastrophic Events", Publisher; University of Malta, Malta (2008). ISBN 97899909-44-40-2 (Paperback), ISBN 978-99909-44-42-6 (Hardback).
Conferences and Seminars
Invited Speaker – La Rinascita del Barocco, International Seminar of Professional
Updating for the Maintenance of the Cultural Heritage, The Restoration of
Fort Manoel, November 2009
Invited Lecturer – International Summer School Cultural Heritage, University of
Rome “Tor Vergata”, The Restoration of Fort Manoel and Fort Tigne’,
and Structural Problems in Malta’s Prehistoric Temple Sites, July 2009
Invited Speaker – Conference on the Future of the Engineering Profession, Universita’ di
Firenze, May 2008
Invited Speaker - Conference on Sebastien Le Prestre de Vauban, Valletta: The
Restoration of Fort Manoel, March 2008.
Perit Kevin Gatt:
Invited by the European Commission in the capacity of expert to a Final Expert
Workshop to discuss and comment the findings of a study conducted by the consortium
consisting in TNO, SEOR and ZSI of Electricity, gas, water & waste on behalf of the
Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the
European Commission. The study is about the elaboration of scenarios of future
evolution of the Electricity, Gas, Water & Waste sector until 2020 and the implication on
employment in existing occupations and on new skills needed for jobs in the sector. This
study is part of a large project entitled "Comprehensive Sectoral Analysis of Emerging
Competences and Economic Activities in the European Union" which entails 15 other
studies covering a large share of the economy.
Perit R.Borg:
Attended PROHITEC 2009; Protection of Cultural Heritage: Structural Engineering
& Construction Materials; International Conference, Rome, (June 2009).
Attended Seminar: Catastrophic Events & Structures, Seismic Action & Explosions; UK,
(January 2009).
Attended WG Seminar, (Vice-Chairman): Refurbishment of Suburban Residential
Buildings; Portugal; (January 2009).
Attended WG Seminar, (Vice-Chairman): Refurbishment of Suburban Residential
Buildings; Serbia; (May 2009).
Attended Seminar (as Coordinator of the WP: Sustainability of Materials, Innovative
Products): Sustainability of Structures, Life time Engineering; Italy, (May 2009).
Participated in Scientific Missions:
Naples: Structural Vulnerability of Structures. Masonry and Reinforced Concrete
Structures: Structural Vulnerability Analysis. (January 2009).
L'Aquila & Abruzzo Earthquake: Structural Assessment and Vulnerability Analysis,
Masonry and Reinforced Concrete Structures. (Italian Civil Protection), (June
Participated in International Research Summer School: Sustainability of Structures, Life
time Structural Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, (May 2009)
Perit John Valentino:
Participated in a Workshop Eurocode 6 Background and Applications, in Brussels 2-3
April 2009, on EN 1996 Design of Masonry Structures
Perit Franco Montesin:
Attended Conference on Concrete Technology, Technologists and Industry, held in the
U.K. on the 2nd & 3rd April 2009 and organised by the Institute of Concrete Technology,
Head of Department
Department of Building and Civil Engineering
Department of the Built Heritage
The Department of the Built Heritage was set up February 2009, subsuming the Institute
for Masonry and Construction Research. The remit of the Department is to focus on the
problems of the existing urban and heritage fabric. The mission statement of the
Department is to “To provide internationally recognised university education in all that
concerns the Built Heritage, whilst also promoting local consciousness of its conservation
at all levels. This will be achieved by undergraduate and postgraduate University courses
and research, outreach programmes and providing CPD for architects and other
professionals involved in the conservation of the Built Heritage, including buildings,
archaeological sites and historic landscapes. All efforts will be made to collaborate with
organisations, institutions and individuals, both locally and abroad, to achieve awareness
and excellence in teaching and research.”
The staff members of the Department are:
Prof. JoAnn Cassar (Head),
Perit Shirley Cefai (Assistant Lecturer) and
Perit Claude Busuttil (TR4).
Both of the latter members of staff are currently reading for a PhD.
Also forming part of the Department is Ms Roberta De Angelis, Project Assistant on an
EU Project ELAICH. She is on a full time 3-year definite contract.
Currently the main activity of the Department is the biennial taught MSc on Conservation
Technology for Masonry Buildings. This course is co-ordinated by Prof JoAnn Cassar.
All members of the Department teach on this course, as well as other staff both from the
University of Malta and other Institutions (see Department’s collaboration with third
parties below). This year 5 students are following the taught part of the course. There are
also 6 students from previous years currently working on their Masters dissertation. The
Department also has one MPhil and one PhD student.
Projects – externally funded
2.1 ELAICH -Educational Linkage Approach in Cultural Heritage
The ELAICH Project is a EU-funded Euromed Heritage IV project in which the
Department of the Built Heritage shares the role of partner with four foreign institutions,
namely Technion Institute of Technology (Israel), University of Antwerp (Belgium),
National Technical University of Athens (Greece) and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice
(Italy). The project officially started last February (2009) and will end in January 2012.
The objective of the ELAICH project is to increase awareness of the importance of
Cultural Heritage and its conservation by particular target groups, such as youth, with a
focus on built heritage. This objective will be reached through a course, implemented in
situ at a specific site (e.g. a monument or an archaeological site). The ELAICH courses
will take place in several countries (i.e. partner countries, Egypt, Turkey and Jordan),
including Malta, where the course is scheduled for 2011.
Since February 2009, two partner meetings have taken place: the first on the 3rd and 4th
March in Haifa (Israel) and the second in Antwerp (Belgium) from the 25th to the 27th
October 2009. In both meetings the Department of the Built Heritage prepared and
delivered presentations. Besides these meetings, regular Skype calls were held with the
Project Coordinator (Technion, Israel) over the past months to provide or receive
feedback on specific project tasks. A conference call with all partners was also organised
through Skype on the 7th September 2009 and entailed significant preparation work.
The general work plan of the Project is based on a sequence of activities leading to the
implementation of the course, and to the creation of a toolkit and distance learning
application. Activity 1 took place between March and August 2009 and was aimed at
developing a documented educational approach. Within Activity 1 the Department of the
Built Heritage delivered a comprehensive document reviewing courses in Conservation
and Cultural Heritage for a non-professional audience in several countries in Europe and
in the United States. Activity 2 has started since September 2009 and sees the University
of Malta (the Department of the Built Heritage) as activity leader. In this role the
Department will coordinate the work of the other partners, organise the tasks planned
within Activity 2, and finalise the expected deliverables (course content and manual). The
Department has so far prepared a document drafting the structure and general content of
the ELAICH course, which was presented, discussed and finalised during the Antwerp
meeting. Besides the role of activity leader of Activity 2, the Department of the Built
Heritage has also the coordination of the Domain “Conservation Processes” within the
ELAICH course.
2.2 Erasmus agreements
The Department of the Built Heritage has at present several active Erasmus agreements
with European Universities, which support the travel to Malta of various foreign lecturers
who participate on the MSc course on Conservation Technology for Masonry Buildings.
This is expanded on below under the sub-title of Department’s Collaboration with Third
2.3 Projects with Din L-Art Helwa
The Department of the Built Heritage has recently commenced a programme of
collaboration with Din L-Art Helwa, providing technical consultancy to this NGO with a
small remuneration to the Department. This is expanded on below under the sub-title of
Department’s Collaboration with Third Parties.
2.4 Organisation of Seminar entitled “Wall Paintings: Studies and Conservation”
This seminar was organised by the Department of the Built Heritage on the 9th and 10th
September 2009 at the Aula Magna, Old University Building in Valletta, to raise
awareness on the importance of the conservation of wall paintings. It was also an
opportunity to review the issues involved in the conservation of wall paintings in Malta
and abroad, as well as to describe the study phases necessary to arrive at suitable
solutions. Two world-famous scholars, Prof. Maria Perla Colombini from the University
of Pisa (Italy) and Ms Sharon Cather from the Courtauld Institute of Art (UK) featured as
keynote speakers. The welcome address of the seminar was delivered by the Pro-Rector
for Academic Affairs Prof. Alfred Vella. The seminar included the participation of local
conservators presenting scientific studies carried out on Maltese wall paintings, and other
stakeholders with important roles in the conservation of local wall paintings who
discussed their concerns. Ms Roberta De Angelis delivered a presentation entitled “Case
study: a challenging oil painting on stone in the parish church of Cospicua”. Perit Cefai
attended the seminar, chaired one of the sessions, and also assisted in the preparation of
graphics for the poster of the seminar. Prof Cassar chaired the opening session. Eightysix people reserved a place for the seminar and 61 attended.
The seminar was open to University students and staff and to professionals involved in
the field of Conservation. It was mostly advertised through the University website and
also through the press (i.e. Sunday Times, Malta Today and Di-Ve). Both the Italian
Ambassador and the British High Commissioner were invited to attend. The organization
of the seminar involved the creation of promotional material, such as posters, a large
banner and a booklet containing all the abstracts of the speakers. A one-page article
summarising the outcome of the seminar was written by the Department and published on
the Sunday Times on the 27th September 2009.
3. Conferences/seminars/meetings abroad
3.1 Within the ELAICH project, two partner meetings have taken place: the first on the
3rd and 4th March in Haifa (Israel) and the second in Antwerp (Belgium) from the 25th
to the 27th October 2009. In both meetings the Department of the Built Heritage prepared
and delivered presentations. Both these meetings were attended by Prof. JoAnn Cassar
and Ms Roberta De Angelis. Further information is given under the subtitle Projects
3.2 During October 2009 Prof. JoAnn Cassar attended a seminar in Germany on
Desalination -EU research results on poultice systems. This international colloquium was
held at the Cologne Institute of Conservation Science, Cologne University of Applied
Sciences. This meeting acted as a forum to present the latest research findings of a three
year EU research project, where poultice systems, which are often used in conservation
for the treatment of salt problems, were studied in an attempt to develop a methodology
for optimising the performance of these poultices. The research focussed on the influence
of poultice composition and application and also examined how poultice characteristics
can be tailored to suit the requirements of individual objects. This seminar was a first step
in transferring the knowledge gained to the practical arena to aid professionals working
within stone, architectural and wall paintings conservation.
3.3 Perit Shirley Cefai is currently carrying out research on her MPhil/PhD for which she
is registered at the University of York (UK). This gave her the opportunity to follow the
following short courses at the University of York: Poster Presentations, PowerPoint
(Further), Getting Down to Writing, and Preparing for Your Upgrade. She also attended a
lecture entitled ‘Beyond the Evidence’ by Dr John Moreland. In December she will be
carrying out another study visit to York and will be attending a two day seminar to be
held in Newcastle entitled ‘Engaging Communities’. She has also applied for a course
‘Managing your research project’ and will be attending in York a research forum by a
research student entitled, ‘Maritime Landscapes in the Mafia Archipelago, Tanzania’.
On the 16th October Perit Cefai was at the University of York for her Thesis Advisory
Panel evaluation where she was given feedback on her research to date. For this Panel she
was requested to write up two chapters. These two chapters set out the theoretical
framework for her research and gave a brief outline of the three case studies which she
shall be using for her research. It was also decided that she would be allowed to go fulltime with her research. The Panel commented positively on her work and gave
suggestions as to how she should continue directing her research. Due to the fact that she
will be now a full-time student, she will be having 2 Thesis Advisory Panel evaluations
per year; one will be in March and another in October.
3.4 Perit Claude Busuttil has recently registered for his PhD with the University of
Sorbonne -Paris IV (France). He was in Paris between the 6th and the 9th of October to
discuss the research project with his Prof. Michele Virol of the Department of Modern
and Contemporary History. It was agreed that research should start in Malta first at the
archives in the National Library of Malta.
4. Department’s collaboration with third parties.
The Department of the Built Heritage has a number of ongoing collaborations with third
parties, both in the University of Malta and outside, in part inherited from the activities of
the Institute for Masonry and Construction Research, and in part developed over the past
year since its being set up. These include:
4.1 With various UoM Departments:
4.1.1 Department of Materials Engineering, Faculty of Engineering: Research projects in
relation to stone, including:
• “Erosion of Limestone” by a 4th year Mechanical Engineering student – to
estimate the degree of erosion caused by physical cleaning;
• “Thermal imaging of building materials” by an Austrian Erasmus undergraduate
student -to study the detection of moisture in a non-destructive way.
There is also an ongoing collaboration with Dr John Betts, who regularly teaches on the
MSc on Conservation Technology for Masonry Buildings. Dr Betts is also helping Prof.
Cassar on the co-ordination of the MSc course and sits on the Board of Studies of the
MSc course.
As course Assistant Co-ordinator, Dr Betts has mainly been involved in the introduction
of the use of online content in the course, based on the VLE of the University of Malta.
Beginning with an experimental introduction of two units, the entire course is now being
placed online. The role of the coordinator was to investigate the use of the VLE, prepare
the initial trial sections, assist in formatting and present the idea to staff and students.
Besides this the role entailed assisting in creating course regulations and the new course
structure and participation in the board of studies.
The Department has also been recently approached by the Head of Department of
Materials Engineering to further develop collaboration between the two Departments.
4.1.2 Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science
Ongoing discussions with the Head of Department, Dr Emanuel Sinagra, to establish
dissertation topics related to conservation for undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Dr Sinagra also regularly teaches on the MSc on Conservation Technology for Masonry
4.1.3 Department of Physics, Faculty of Science
Ongoing discussions with Dr Godwin Debono, to co-supervise Science students on topics
related to remote sensing with an archaeological/conservation bias.
4.1.4 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science
Dr Joseph Buhagiar regularly teaches on the MSc on Conservation Technology for
Masonry Buildings.
4.1.5 Department of Classics and Archaeology, Faculty of Arts
Prof. JoAnn Cassar regularly delivers a course on “Principles of Archaeological
Conservation” (ARC 2016) to undergraduate students reading Archaeology
Dr Nicholas Vella regularly teaches on the MSc on Conservation Technology for
Masonry Buildings
Prof. JoAnn Cassar and Ms Roberta De Angelis are collaborating with the Department of
Classics and Archaeology on the conservation of the Roman Zejtun archaeological site,
which is currently being excavated by the Department of Classics and Archaeology.
Funds are being provided by the local NGO Din l-Art Helwa.
4.1.6 Department of Geography, Mediterranean Institute
Dr John Schembri regularly teaches on the MSc on Conservation Technology for
Masonry Buildings
Two undergraduate students who are doing experimental dissertations where stone is
involved have approached the Department of the Built Heritage for advice.
4.1.7 International Institute of Baroque Studies
Prof. J Cassar regularly lectures students of the International Institute for Baroque Studies
following a Diploma course on Baroque Architecture. She lectures on “Composition and
Properties of Building Materials”.
4.1.8 Other Departments within the Faculty for the Built Environment
Perit Cefai and Prof Cassar lecture regularly undergraduate students following the
optional study-unit “Conservation Studies.”
Perit Cefai is regularly consulted by 5th year undergraduate students in the Faculty with
respect to their thesis projects, which are related to a historic site. They also consult with
Perit Cefai regarding their dissertations when these are related to conservation.
Perit Claude Busuttil assists in the tutoring of design projects in the Department of
Architecture and Urban Design.
4.2 Junior College
In connection with the ELAICH Project, the Department of the Built Heritage has
established close collaboration with the Junior College (JC). Several meetings with the
JC Principal and lecturers were held over the past months to explore the possibility of
recruiting JC students for the ELAICH course and integrating the ELAICH course within
the Systems of Knowledge (SOK) Project. An information session was also conducted by
Ms De Angelis to most of the SOK lecturers to inform them of the ELAICH Project and
to encourage their collaboration on the Project, as well on the course to be held in Malta
in 2011. The feedback from these lecturers has so far been most encouraging.
4.3 External to UoM – local
4.3.1 Heritage Malta – Institute of Conservation and Management of Cultural Heritage
Prof. JoAnn Cassar is the Chairperson of the Boards of Studies of the Bachelor of
Conservation B.Cons. (Hons.) and the Master of Applied Conservation Studies M.Cons.,
appointed by the Senate of the University of Malta. Both Boards are joint between the
University of Malta and Heritage Malta. In these roles, Prof. Cassar organises and chairs
regular meetings, establishes the agendas and approves the minutes. Decisions are taken,
both within and outside the meetings, on academic matters pertaining to the two courses.
Visits to Heritage Malta Bighi are also sometimes carried out. Academic programmes,
lecturers and dissertations are discussed and approved. Prof. Cassar has also this year
been appointed as Chairperson of three Boards of Examiners, and the Final Classification
Boards, for the M.Cons. students. Following the recent resignation of the Director of the
ICMCH, and the appointment by Heritage Malta of a current M.Cons. student as the
A/Manager of the Institute, Prof. Cassar has temporarily taken over the everyday running
of all academic affairs pertaining to the M.Cons. course.
For the Academic year 2009-10 Ms Roberta De Angelis is supervising a B.Cons. degree
dissertation entitled “The Wall Paintings at the Entrance Hall of Verdala Palace, Buskett:
Original Technique and Condition Assessment” (Student: Sarah Gafà).
In June 2009, Ms De Angelis was External Examiner of a B. Cons. Dissertation entitled
“Marouflage Paintings in Malta: A Study with Reference to Maltese and Gozitan
Churches” by Amy Sciberras.
On the 20th October 2009, Ms Roberta De Angelis was invited to deliver a one-hour
lecture to the 2nd year students in Conservation Studies (B.Cons.(Hons)) at Bighi. The
lecture entitled “Giuseppe Calì -The dome painting of the Chapel of the Crucifix, Parish
church of Cospicua” was part of the study unit “Manufacturing techniques of wall
paintings” (CRS2103).
Perit Shirley Cefai is lecturing regularly during the first semester of 2009-2010 on the
B.Cons. course. The study units she lectures on include the first year study unit CRS1014
“Conservation and Restoration History”, the second year CRS2000 “Conservation and
Restoration Theory I” and the third year CRS3000 “Conservation and Restoration Theory
II”. This also involves the assessment of these study units, which involves the
presentation of a critique of a case study. Perit Cefai is also currently delivering lectures
to postgraduate students following the MA course in Cultural Heritage Management, run
by ICMCH. She lectures on “Development of Conservation”.
4.3.2 Din L-Art Helwa
In May 2009 the Department of the Built Heritage was approached by the local NGO Din
L-Art Helwa and was asked to provide a conservation plan and the related cost estimate
for the frescoes at the Church of Hal Millieri. The Department compiled the
documentation required and included as part of the conservation plan:
• Environmental monitoring (interior and exterior of the church)
• Seasonal condition surveys (interior and exterior of the church)
• Salt analysis
• Rectified photography and photography.
In relation to the implementation of the proposed conservation plan, the Department
offered to take care of the overall planning of the programme of works, the supervision,
elaboration and evaluation of data, and the writing of a final report with
In October 2009, Din L-Art Helwa again approached the Department of the Built
Heritage to ask for assistance from the Department in its conservation programmes. An
agreement was reached wherein the Department will advise Din L-Art Helwa on a
consultancy basis, principally to ensure that technical reports received can be properly
vetted, that conservation work is carried out properly and in accordance with method
statements received and general advice and strategy. This includes primarily the wall
paintings at the Churches of Hal Millieri and Bir Miftuh, and in the future Victory
Church, and will also include some advice on buildings they hold in trust.
4.3.3 Scientific Committee for the Conservation of the Megalithic Temples
Prof. JoAnn Cassar and Perit Shirley Cefai are members of the multi-disciplinary
Scientific Committee for the Conservation of Megalithic Temples, which also includes
members from Heritage Malta, which cares for the sites. Other members include
archaeologists, a conservator and a biologist. The Committee was set up by the Minister
of Education and Culture. Regular meetings are held when decisions on major
interventions on the megalithic sites are taken; site visits to the Temples are carried out
whenever the need arises. The Scientific Committee has also recently drawn up
Conservation Plan for the Megalithic Temples.
4.3.4 Bord tal-Warrant tar-Restawraturi
Prof. Cassar is a member of the Board tal-Warrant tar-Restawraturi, set up by the
Minister for Education and Culture. This Board is responsible, according to the Cultural
Heritage Act, for giving a warrant to professional conservator/restorers. This involves
attending regular meetings. The Board has given feedback to the Minister on the Warrant,
and is awaiting an official reply. As part of the Board’s work, a Code of Ethics and
Guidelines of Practice has been drawn up and is in the public domain
4.4 External to UoM – foreign
4.4.1 Erasmus agreements
Erasmus agreements have been signed with the following European universities:
Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia (IUAV), Italy
Centre for Sustainable Heritage, University College London (UCL), UK
Dipartimento di Chimica e Chimica Industriale, Universita’ degli Studi di Pisa,
• Department of Chemistry, University of Antwerp (Belgium)
• Artesis Hogeschool Antwerpen (Belgium) -new
• Department of Geography, University of Portsmouth (UK) -new
• Universita’ Ca Foscari di Venezia (Italy) -forthcoming
Lecturers from all of these Institutions have been invited to lecture postgraduate students
of the MSc in Conservation Technology for Masonry Buildings. Lecturers from IUAV,
UCL, Universita’ degli Studi di Pisa, University of Antwerp and the Artesis Hogeschool
have already visited. The University of Portsmouth will be organising a workshop for our
postgraduate students in January 2010.
In addition, Prof. JoAnn Cassar has in the past lectured at IUAV, UCL and Antwerp.
4.4.2 Lecture by Prof. Maria Perla Colombini (University of Pisa, Italy)
Maria Perla Colombini is Full professor of Analytical Chemistry at the University of
Pisa, and Director of the University Master programme "Materials and Diagnostic
Techniques for Cultural Heritage". Since 1990, her research activity has related to the
development of analytical procedures based on spectroscopic and chromatographic
techniques for the characterisation of organic materials (proteinaceous binders, drying
oils, resins, gums, etc.)
and their degradation products in works of art and archaeological objects.
Upon invitation of the Department of the Built Heritage, Prof. Colombini delivered a
two-hour lecture entitled “The characterisation of organic materials in wall paintings” on
the 11th September 2009 at the Gateway Hall E, University of Malta. The lecture was
open to University students and lecturers from the Faculties of Science and Engineering
and from ICMCH. The visit of Prof. Colombini, including her participation in the Wall
Paintings Seminar (see above), was partly financed by the Italian Ministero
dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca as part of the bilateral cultural protocol
(protocollo culturale bilaterale) between Malta and Italy.
4.4.3 Lecture by Prof. Miloš Drdácký and Dr Zuzana Slížková
On 9 October 2009, Prof Miloš Drdácký and Dr Zuzana Slížková of the Institute of
Theoretical and Applied Mechanics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
and the Centre of Excellence ARCCHIP delivered a lecture to undergraduate and
postgradaute students at the Faculty for the Built Environment on "Innovated Diagnostic
Methods for the Characterisation of Stone and Mortar". Prof. Drdácký and Dr Slížková
were invited to give this lecture by the Department of the Built Heritage.
4.4.4 Invited lecture by Prof. JoAnn Cassar
In July 2009 Prof. Cassar was invited to give a lecture at the Universita’ di Roma Tor
Vergata (Italy) to the graduate students attending the International Summer School on the
Conservation on Historical, Monumental and Archaeological Sites organised by the
Faculty of Engineering of this University. The lecture, given on the 29th of July, was
entitled “The Megalithic Temples of Malta, World Heritage Sites. Studies and
4.4.5 Invited presentation by Prof. JoAnn Cassar
In November 2009, Prof. Cassar was invited to give a presentation during the
international seminar on “La rinascita del barocco”, organised in Valletta (Malta) on the
13th and 14th November 2009. Prof. Cassar’s presentation was entitled “Il calcare
Globigerina di Malta Composizione, proprieta’ e deterioramento.”
4.4.6 Update on staff members’ PhD studies
Perit Shirley Cefai is currently registered as a MPhil/PhD student with the University of
York (UK). Her supervisor is Dr Jane Grenville. Her research is based on the
anthropological and social aspects of conservation. She will eventually link this to the
social context of Malta. Her research will lead to the understanding of how conservation
in Malta has developed and how the influences of the different schools of thoughts which
infiltrate Malta actually have influenced, if at all, the local methodology in conservation
projects. Currently she is working on the minutes of committees to investigate any
procedures and approaches to conservation projects. She is investigating the social
context of Malta and integrating it with a theoretical framework. Three main case studies
have also been selected which indicate different approaches both in methodology and
management systems employed: St John’s Co-cathedral, Fort Manoel and Hagar Qim and
Mnajdra archaeological park.
Perit Claude Busuttil has recently registered for a PhD with the University of Sorbonne
Paris IV (France). The supervisor of his thesis is Prof. Michele Virol of the Department
of Modern and Contemporary History whilst the co-supervisor is Dr Stephen Spiteri.
Perit Busuttil was in Paris between the 6th and the 9th of October to discuss his research
project with his supervisor. It was agreed that research should start in Malta first at the
AOM archives in the NLM. Applications for a scholarship to STEPS and MGSS have
been unsuccessful and are hampering the start of his studies.
5. Publications
J Cassar – (forthcoming) “The Use of Limestone in a Historic Context – The Experience
of Malta” In: Geological Society of London Special Publication: Limestone in the Built
Environment: Present Day Challenges for Preservation of the Past. Publication date –
January/February 2010.
J Cassar -Co-editor of Geological Society of London Special Publication: Limestone in
the Built Environment: Present Day Challenges for Preservation of the Past. Publication
date – January/February 2010.
R. De Angelis (co-author) – (forthcoming) “Tracing the History of Wall Paintings
through Visual Documents: the Vault Painting of the Main Hall at Verdala Palace,
Malta.” In: Source and Serendipity: Testimonies of Artists’ Practice. Ed. Erma Hermens
nd Joyce H Townsend, Archetype.
Prof J Cassar
Department of the Built Heritage

Annual Departmental Reports 2008/9 Faculty for the Built Environment