Conrad Thake has regaled us with many sumptuous books on Malta’s architectural history and he presents us here with a novel and fascinating selection of what he aptly calls ‘Visions on Paper’, i.e., drawings of different architectural projects, some commissioned, others exploratory, that were in the main never realized. This stratigraphic architectural imaginary tells us a great deal on the main concerns of the various periods, from triumphal arches to the replanning of Valletta, to that old chestnut, the Opera House.
A ‘vision on paper’ is thus far from an insubstantial creation; it projects a whole world shaped by, and reflective of, its social milieu and imaginary. With printing it can stimulate mass audiences about the possible.
“This book is an image-based architectural narrative that collates projects, ideas, visions, responses to specific tasks, and which at the same time, opens the gaze to an alternative architectural paradigm. The corpus of selected drawings offers parallel visions of both a real and an imagined Malta. At the same time, the ‘visions on paper’ are also the mirror of those who produced them, of the many architects and designers, who have left their mark over the centuries, slowly defining the island as an incomparable European microcosm.”
Prof. Marco Rosario Nobile – Università degli studi di Palermo