Forward Architects
D, Dolphin Court
Embassy Way
Ta' Xbiex, XBX 1071
+356 20119511
MUZA Masterplan



The Masterplan

Architecturally we employed minimum intervention for maximum effect on the historic fabric. Sustainability was the driver to our holistic approach, covering all aspects of the museum experience, operation, services, interpretation, design, engineering and materials. Everything is focused on reducing demand for power, introducing daylight and rationalising circulation.

We have designed an organic passive management system linked to the latest technology that allows building, people and art to live and breathe together.


The ground floor is essentially a free-to-enter extension of the street, combining art with café, retail, changing display, informal performance, participation and outreach. Visitors are able to curate their own journey through the building which is facilitated through a very clear orientation strategy at key moments. The ‘preview gallery’ provides a fast track overview of the main collection located on the first floor. The ticketing/ info desk along with the Malta Tourism Authority provide the important personal touch to help first time visitors to plan their time in Malta. Information graphics, the elegant exposed glass lift, hanging super graphics, the café info screens, and the Preview Gallery will all help maximise footfall to this floor and drive visitation upstairs.


On the first floor, art is displayed in 360° integration with the building, with display systems that work with the building and the needs of visitors. It opens up the collections and encourages visitors to journey through the art history of Malta.

At the upper level, researchers are able to explore Heritage Malta’s fine arts reserve collection and library. The adjacent auditorium can be easily be transformed into a temporary exhibition gallery.


Learning and access are at the heart of the MUZA experience. Updatable information points, self guided tours and visitor responsive interpretation, as well as flexible spaces of activities and temporary exhibitions create new ways to explore Malta’s fine arts collection. The hand held interpretation has a dedicated and easily programmable mode to support learning and access needs as well as providing multiple languages


Throughout the building, the natural surroundings and environment have been harnessed to minimise the use of light, power and air-conditioning implementing a man- aged environmental approach that dramatically reduces the building’s carbon footprint and offers an innovative solution to visitors’ services and display. This guides the placement of gallery spaces and the objects within a unique environmental framework.



A Low Energy Approach

Our approach to delivering an environmentally sus- tainable solution is based on adopting the following design hierarchy:



The most significant reduction in carbon emissions will be achieved by using the building itself to reduce the need for consuming energy. This principally means using the inherent properties, orientation and form of the building to moderate the internal environmental conditions. It also involves planning the use of each space and managing the flow of people through the building. We call this passive engineering.




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