“The Art and Craft of Masonry Construction – Design, Stereotomy & Conservation”

Final Conference and Exhibition to be held at the Malta Maritime Museum

LITHOS - Final Confernce and ExhibitionHeritage Malta will be organising an international conference and exhibition entitled “The Art and Craft of Masonry Construction – Design, Stereotomy & Conservation” as part of the Lithos Project undertaken by the agency.

The Lithos Project spanning over a two-year period started in May 2011 and is part funded through the cross border Operational Programme, Italia Malta 2007 as part of the European Regional Development Fund. The project aimed at establishing an international research centre, specializing in stereotomy and stone construction. Stereotomy is the set of geometrical knowledge and techniques of drawing and cutting the blocks of stone and their assembly into complex structures related to architectural construction.

The Provincia Regionale di Ragusa is the lead partner of this project, while Heritage Malta, the Centro Regionale per la Progettazione e il Restauro and the Universita degli studi di Palermo are partners. Sicily and Malta, well known for the rich architectural and artistic heritage, share similarities in atmospheric and environmental conditions as well as construction materials. This project has funded the opportunity to conduct studies about these similarities. A study of local historic buildings with a focus on stereotomy is being conducted where Maltese craftsmanship is being compared to that of Sicily. These studies can provide important information for the rediscovery of ancient traditions which can be applied to new constructions. Such studies also permit the exchange of conservation and restoration methods between Malta and Sicily.

Thanks to this project, Heritage Malta invested in a number of modern Lithos 3conservation equipment and technical know-how. Mastri, conservators and apprentices currently following vocational training in Masonry Heritage Skills are now being exposed to the use of this equipment and have the opportunity to carry out their work more efficiently, with greater ease and effectiveness.

Major benefits of the project included the organization of two formation courses for Heritage Malta employees in Sicily. These consisted in an academic and practice stage for the Mastri and apprentices currently placed with Heritage Malta. The Maltese participants had a first-hand experience in a restoration site abroad and as a result, were able to acquire a thorough knowledge on the history of architecture and stereotomy. As part of the project Heritage Malta also conserved one of the facades of the Inquisitor’s Palace in Vittoriosa as a case study.

The inauguration of the exhibition will be held on 21st February 2013 at the St Angelo Hall, Malta Maritime Museum, Birgu at 1800hrs. The conference will be held on 22nd February 2013 at the same venue and includes speakers from all project partners.

Registration is free of charge and can be effected by sending an email to info@heritagemalta.org by not later than the 15th February 2013.