Discover the beauty of a Brutalist concrete monster building in the heart of one of Malta’s largest villages. Designed by Italian architect Giorgio Pacini and built between 1965 and 1982 the sanctuary of St. Therese of Lisieux in Birkirkara, Malta is a building you won’t easily forget.
Described as fully embracing an uncompromising Modernist style (Modernist Malta: The Architectural Legacy ISBN 978-999932-0-692-7), the sanctuary comprises of a rotunda and a bell tower conceived in the shape of crown and a sceptre. The rotunda features a reinforced-concrete folded-plate roof whilst the tower, although slender, soars above all the other buildings in the vicinity.
In architectural terms, due to its exposed concrete finish, the sanctuary can be classified as Brutalist and there are very few others in Malta which fall in this category. Religious buildings especially, are often, even ’til today are still built in a Baroque or pseudo-Baroque style; an approach betraying a certain nostalgia by a certain strata of society towards Malta’s Golden Age during the reign of the Knights of St John in the 16th and 17th century.
If you’re interested in reading about Maltese Modernist architectural landmarks, get hold of a copy of Modernist Malta: The Architectural Legacy (ISBN 978-999932-0-692-7) published by the Maltese National Trust and the Maltese Chamber of Architects and Civil Engineers in 2009.