city of 1000 gardens

Our proposals seek to recover the town’s community spirit by rethinking its physical organization, revitalizing its attractions, and reinforcing its connection to the abundant natural heritage. The proposals envisage the reorganisation of the town into distinct yet connected community centres, quarters, that respect the town’s origins and geophysical characteristics, and social fabric.

The landscape is introduced as a primary infrastructure, infiltrating the denser urban fabric to restore the natural separation between the quarters, while reintroducing the connecting landscape corridors that exemplified Marsaskala’s original desirability and led to its population growth.

As though resurfacing from primeval times, the waterfront project, central to the town’s regeneration, restores the geomorphology of the site. The waterfront becomes a geology, brought to the surface and visibly crystallized,
becoming a work of inhabitable land art, dotted with gardens of biodiversity. It unites rather than divides the varied neighborhoods, thwarting the risk of rapid uncontrolled growth, of a progressive disintegration of the once strong social fabric.

The individual communities are brought together through the town’s ecological heritage, a heritage that drives future prosperity.

The waterfront is seen as a planetary garden, an incubator of the biodiversity of the place and its genetic repository.

It is conceived according to the following general logic:

• As a place of maximum biodiversity;
• As a genetic basin of Malta’s ecologies;
• As a ‘garden in movement’; that is, a place in which nature acts and regulates itself without being subjected to imposed artificial logic;
• As a museum of local botanical science in the open air.

The project is conceived as three complimentary gardens in a symbiotic r
elationship: the biodiversity of fresh water in Misrah Mifsud Bonnici and Il-Maghluq; a terrestrial garden along the Waterfront; and a marine habitat in Pjazza
Dun Agius.


The design expresses ‘geological scales’ to reveal the ancient geologies of the place. Obtained from territorial analyses and coinciding with the natural ones that have disappeared beneath recent transformations, the lines of topography and geo-morphology crystallize in the project, transforming it into a work of habitable land art. These ‘geologies’ are modified by the dynamism of bathymetry and water levels, which allow the construction of a public space that constantly changes its image, its limits, and edges, generating an ever-changing spatial rhythm.

Marsaskala’s waterfront is reconfigured to reinforce its character, improve the visitor experience and elevate it into the primary connector between the different quarters of the town.



Marsaskala, Malta




NIDUM, Elisa C. Cattaneo & Franck Franjou