Dictionary of Architecture and Building in Malta

For thousands of years, since early pre-history, Man in Malta has been an incessant builder

and with patience, persistence and determination has hewn stone from the innumerable quarries that abound in the island, and with it built temples, houses, churches, palaces and fortified walls wth love, skill, hard work and ingenuity for himself and for the island's occupiers.


This book is intended to make local architecture and building more accessible to the general public, but also to students and professionals who may, perhaps, turn to it for helpful information. The dictionary has no pretensions to completeness, but it provides over 2,500 entries, including short biographical notes on the many architects and engineers, both Maltese and foreign, who worked in Malta. Foreign architects, such as the commonly known names of Laparelli, Genga, Buonamici and Carapecchia, and many others lesser-known, but still outstanding names, figure in the biographical notes. English architects and engineers who worked in Malta, mostly on the island's fortifications from the early 1800s down to our own time, such as William Scamp, Hugh Braun and Quentin Hughes have their work amply covered.

Pride of place goes, of course, to the host of highly-skilled Maltese master-masons with examples of their work mostly in churches and wayside chapels, and Maltese architects who graced our towns and villages with their outstanding architectural achievements: Girolamo Cassar, Tommaso Dingli, Lorenzo Gafà, and nearer to our time, Michele Cachia, Andrea Vassallo, Ġużé D'Amato.

The author brings together terms and words which he has collected and stored in his memory over a period of more than fifty years in continuous connection with fellow-architects, students, masons and workers in the building trade. Archaic words no longer in use are defined and explained, such as: ċlamit, ħożna, gargnu and ġejża, and, where possible, together with their etymology.

These and other words relating to local building practice, some of which date back to the medieval perod, should not be forgotten by the new generation of architects and builders, which seems to be oblivious of the rich heritage of old Maltese words used by our forefathers.
The Dictionary is sponsored by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA).




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