Maltese Architects


Girolamo Cassar



Girolamo Cassar, also known as Ġlormu Cassar, was a Maltese architect and military engineer who designed many buildings in the capital Valletta.


Cassar was born around 1520 in Birgu to a Sicilian family who had lived in the Maltese islands since around 1440. He was a military engineer during the Great Siege of Malta in 1565 and he helped repair some of the fortifications of Birgu and Senglea.

Cassar became assistant to Francesco Laparelli in the building of Valletta and helped him design some of the fortifications. He took over following Laparelli’s departure from Malta in 1569 (and his death a year later). Since Cassar had only designed military architecture before, he briefly went to study in Italy where he learnt about mannerist architecture. He returned to Malta within a year and he began to design various buildings

Among the buildings he designed in Valletta there were:

Grandmaster’s Palace (1571)


Auberge d’Aragon (1571)


Auberge de Castille (1574)


Auberge de Provence (1574)

Auberge d’Allemagne (1575)

Saint John’s Co-Cathedral (1577)


Auberge d’Italie (1579)

Auberge d’Auvergne (1583)



Auberge de France (1588)



Most of these were later renovated or destroyed. In some cases such as Auberge de Castille, the new Auberge was completely rebuilt and the building was completely different from the original design. However a few buildings such as Auberge d’Aragon and the exterior of Saint John’s Co-Cathedral retain Cassar’s original design.

He also designed various churches, the bakery, the mills and some private palaces and houses in Valletta, some churches in Rabat and Verdala Palace. Other buildings such as the Sacra Infermeria might have also been designed by Cassar although no actual documents or plans survive about these.

Girolamo Cassar lived with his wife Mattea and his two sons at Strada Pia (now Melita Street), Valletta. One of his sons, Vittorio Cassar later became an architect as well.


Vittorio Cassar

Vittorio Cassar was a Maltese architect and military engineer in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. He designed several churches and coastal fortifications.


Vittorio Cassar was born around 1550 in the town of Birgu. His father was the architect Girolamo Cassar and his mother Mattea Cassar. In the 1570s, his family moved to Strada Pia (now Melita Street) in the newly built capital city Valletta where his father had designed many buildings.

He was also accused and sentenced by the Roman Inquisition for the practice of magic. It is now believed that his ‘sins’ were possession of banned books.

While Vittorio Cassar is not as well known as his father, he still designed a number of important buildings. A number of these were designed by him, but were actually built many years after his death. Among the buildings attributed to him, there are:

Our Lady of Victories Parish Church, Senglea (1580)

Saint Philip Parish Church, Żebbuġ (1599-1613)

Wignacourt Tower, Saint Paul’s Bay (1610)


Saint Lucian Tower, Marsaxlokk (1610-1611)


Saint Thomas Tower, Marsaskala (1614)


Assumption of Mary Parish Church, Birkirkara (1617-1655)


Saint Mary’s Tower, Comino (1618)


Cassar died in 1607 on the island of Gozo. He was buried in the chapel of Saint Barbara within the Walls in the Cittadella.


Tumas Dingli


Tumas Dingli (born in Attard, Malta on December 22, 1591, died 1666) was an architect. His father was called ‘Gakbu’ (Jacob) while his mother was called ‘Katarina’ (Katrina). He is famous for having designed many parish churches in various localities.


Dingli studied to become an architect and worked on the following projects:

Assumption Parish Church, Mosta (1608) – demolished to make way for the Rotunda of Mosta


Saint Bartholomew Parish Church, Għargħur (1610)


Assumption Parish Church, Attard (1613–16)


Porta San Giorgio (1632)


Nativity of Our Lady Parish Church, Naxxar (1636)

Our Lady of Grace Parish Church, Żabbar (1641–96)

Assumption Parish Church, Gudja (1656–66)

Saint Philip Parish Church, Żebbuġ (1660)



His masterpiece was designing the Attard Parish Church.


Lorenzo Gafa’


Lorenzo Gafa` was one of the greatest Baroque architects like Mederico Blondel, Romano Carapecchia and Francesco Buonamici, they were the principal Baroque architects in Malta. The Baroque era of churches and palaces started by Gafa`. It was a testimony of the rich architecture carried out by the Order of St John during their occupation in Malta from 1530 to 1798.

Lorenzo had always maintained his residence in Birgu and there is no evidence that he ever went abroad, but according to Giovanni Bonello he was in Rome between 1699 and 1700 and was then involved in the work on the Niccione of San Giovanni in Laterano, the official seat of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. We do not even know where is the house of his birth.

His famous architecture is more Baroque than that of any architect in Malta before his time. He started his career as a stone carver and in 1671 he was still describing himself as a sculptor, in fact as a scalpellino Lorenzo was known to have been involved in the choir of St Philip’s church in Zebbug in 1661. As a great “capomastro” he is known to have been involved in the structure of St Paul’s church in Rabat in 1664, in St Paul’s Valletta in 1666, Sarria church Floriana in 1676, in the Carmelite church at Mdina in 1668, in St Rocco Valletta in 1680 and in 1679 he had designed the Cathedral of Mdina. In 1682 he was paid for designing the Bishop’s Palace in Mdina.

Lorenzo Gafa` designed and constructed the church and convent of Sta Scholastica in Birgu in 1679, St Lawrence church (1681-1697) also in Birgu, St Nicholas church in Siggiewi (1676-1693), St Peter Martyr in Marsaxlokk in 1682, the dome of St George in Qormi in 1684, St Mary’s church in Qrendi in 1685, Tal Hlas church Qormi in 1690, St Catherine church in Zejtun in 1692, the famous Cathedral in Mdina in 1697, the Gozo Cathedral dedicated to St Mary in 1697, and Our Lady of Victories in Valletta in 1699.




Lorenzo Gafa` had always been experimenting with domes, sometimes he considered these to be the most difficult parts in church building. As a consequence many of them had to be re-built or re-modeled, a clear example is the one in Zejtun Parish church. The dome of St Paul’s church in Rabat was first re-modeled by architect Carmelo Micallef and then re-built to a different design by Robert V Galea in 1926. The dome of St Nicholas in Siggiewi was also re-modeled by Andrea Vassallo in 1919, and the dome of St Catherine’s church at Zejtun was re-built by architects S. Sacco and A. Lupi in 1907.

Lorenzo was the son of Marco and Veronica and the brother of Melchiorre the renowned sculptor, he was baptized in St Lawrence church known in those days as San Lorenzo-a-mare which he himself had to put down for the building of the new one. The Parish priest who baptized him was Don Didaco Vella, his godfather was Michele Sciberras. Lorenzo was the 6th born in the family and his brother Melchiorre was the 5th born. Lorenzo was buried in St Lawrence church Birgu but there is no evidence of this, no marble tablet to locate his tomb.


Emmanuel Luigi Galizia

Galizia (1830-1906) was the Maltese Gothic Revivalist of the 1860s onwards.

According to one source, his government service began when he was apprenticed at 15 to the Superintendent of Public Works, William Lamb Arrowsmith (“Malta Family History”). According to another, he was “educated at the Malta University” (Obituary 385). Perhaps he managed both.

At any rate, he rose to become the Chief Government architect in 1860, and the Superintendent of Public Works in 1880. In the latter position, he was aided by his Clerk of Works, Lincolnshire-born Webster Paulson, who had previously been E. M. Barry’s Clerk of Works for the Royal Opera House, Valletta. According to Galizia’s obituary, “Many public buildings scattered throughout Malta and Gozo testify to his architectural ability, which was recognised by his election as a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects”.


•The Carmelite Church, Balluta Bay, Malta (1877)

EG Balluta

•Our Lady of Lourdes, Mgarr Harbour, Gozo (1888-93)

EG mgarr_gozo


•Victoria Gate (1884-85)

EG V Gate

•Houses in the Moorish Style

EG Rudolphe Street in 1880

•The Addolorata Chapel and Cemetery, Paola

EG Addolorata

•Ta’ Braxia Cemetery, Malta


•The Turkish Cemetery, Marsa, Malta

EG Tu Cem



EMMANUELEWIS GALIZIA, Superintendent of Public Works to the Maltese Government, died at Malta on the 6th May, 1906, aged 76. Born in 1830, he was educated at the Malta University, and after serving several years in the Land Revenue and Public Works Department, he received a warrant to practise the profession of Surveyor and Architect in 1852. He was appointed Assistant Surveyor and Valuer of Government land property in 1854, and 2 years later he was promoted Surveyor. In 1860 he became Chief Government Surveyor, in which capacity he had the entire direction of the Public Works branch, and was responsible during the succeeding 20 years for the execution of works amounting in the aggregate to nearly £700,000. In June, 1880, the Public Works service was made an independent department, and Mr. Galizia received the appointment of Superintendent of Public Works, having sole charge of all public works, roads and buildings throughout the island where, in the absence of municipalities, all institutions of a public nature are provided and maintained by Government. Mr. Galizia was also responsible for the maintenance of Crown property covering nearly one-third of of the area of the Colony.

A complete survey and a set of records and descriptive plans of all Government property in Malta and Gozo were made ‘under his direction, and after the British occupation of Cyprus in 1877, he was entrusted by the Imperial Government with two special missions to report on that island generally, and on behalf of the Government of Malta he inspected certain parts of it with a view to the establishment of a Maltese settlement. He also represented the local government in connection with the extension, for commercial purposes, of the upper part of the Grand Harbour, carried out by the Admiralty for the purpose of freeing the lower and deep waters for naval purposes. During his tenure of office, the Public Works Department was completely reorganized and raised to a high level of efficiency. He retired in 1888, after 42 years’ service.

As Superintendent of Public Works, he occupied a seat in the Legislative Council of the Colony. He was also a member of the Drainage Commission and Consulting Engineer to the Medical Board. Many public buildings scattered throughout Malta and Gozo testify to his architectural ability, which was recognized by his election as a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

His tact and affability endeared him to the whole community, whilst the ability and thoroughness which he displayed in all his work gives him a permanent place in the record of professional achievement in Malta.

Mr. Galizia was elected a Member of The Institution on the 12th January, 1886.


Richard England

Richard England

Richard England (Architect) (born in Malta, 3 Oct. 1937) is an architect, writer, artist and academic.

He studied at St. Edward’s College, Malta, and later graduated in Architecture at the University of Malta. He then continued his studies in Italy at the Milan Polytechnic and also worked as a student – architect in the studio of the Italian architect-designer Gio Ponti.

He is also a sculptor, photographer, poet, artist and author of a number of books. He is a Visiting Professor at the University of Malta, having acted as Dean of the Faculty of Architecture between 1987 and 1989. He is also an Hon. Fellow at the University of Bath in the UK, and an Academician and Vice-President of the International Academy of Architecture.

England has lectured and exhibited his work in North and South America, the UK, Europe, the Middle and Far East and Russia. During the 1970s he worked in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia while in the early 80s he was appointed, together with Robert Venturi, Arup Associates, Arthur Erickson, Sheppard Robson and Riccardo Bofill as a consultant to the Mayoralty of Baghdad, Iraq to work on the rehabilitation of the city under the Mayoralty’s architect Rifat Chadirji.

His philosophy centres on an expression referred to by Charles Knevitt as “a valid, contemporary regionalism”,[1] preferring a process of evolution as opposed to revolution, “a new leaf as opposed to a new tree”, believing that architecture should be appropriate to both place and time and that it should evoke the spirit of the place.

Richard England has lectured and worked in the capacity of Architectural Consultant to governmental and private institutions in the following countries: US, UK, Yugoslavia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Italy, Argentina, Poland, Bulgaria, Russia, Kazakhstan and his native Malta.


  • Central Bank of Malta, Valletta, Malta, 1971



  • Church of St Joseph, Manikata, Malta, 1974


re manikata

  • A Garden for Myriam, St. Julians, Malta, 1982
  • Aquasun Lido, Paceville, Malta, 1987


  • Dar Il-Hanin Samaritan, Santa Venera, Malta, 1984



  • Ir-Razzett ta’ Sandrina, Mgarr, Malta, 1988
  • Papal Stands for Pope John Paul II Malta Visit, 1990 + 2001
  • Golf 4 Apartments, Belgrade, ex-Yugoslavia, 1990
  • St. Francis of Assisi Church, Qawra, Malta, 1990
  • University of Malta extension, Malta, 1991


  • Villa ‘G’, Siggiewi, Malta, 1992
  • Central Bank of Malta Annexe, Valletta, Malta, 1992

re central_bank_malta

  • Valletta Entrance Masterplan (Project), Malta, 1994–2000
  • National Arts Centre (Project), Valletta, Malta, 1997


  • Millennium Chapel, Paceville, Malta, 2000

re Millenium

  • Malta Parliament (Project), Valletta, Malta, 2002

re Parliament-Proposal-nightview-Valletta-Malta

  • San Gorg Meditation Chapel, Blata L-Bajda, Malta, 2001
  • Filfla Chapel (Project), Malta, 2002
  • Hal Farrug Church (Project), Malta, 2004


  • The Garden of Apollo, St Julians, Malta, 2007
  • Dar il-Hanin Samaritan Headquarters, Santa Venera, Malta, 2007




Walls of Malta, M.R.S.M., Malta, 1973.
White is White, M.R.S.M., Malta, 1973.
Contemporary Art in Malta, editor and contributor, A Malta Art Festival Publication, Malta, 1974.
Carrier-Citadel Metamorphosis, M.R.S.M., Malta, 1980.
Island: A poem for seeing, M.R.S.M., Malta, 1980.
Uncaged Reflections, selected writings 1965 – 80, M.R.S.M., Malta, 1980.
In Search of Silent Spaces, M.R.S.M., Malta, 1983.
Octaves of Reflection, with Charles Camilleri, A John Arthur Studio Publication, London, 1987.
Eye to I, selected poems, Said International, Malta, 1994.
Mdina. Citadel of Memory, with Conrad Thake, Atlantis Publications, Malta, 1995.
FRAXIONS, LIBRiA, Italy, 1995.
Sacri Luoghi, LIBRiA, Italy, 1997.
Gozo. Island of Oblivion LIBRiA, Italy. 1997.
Transfigurations – Places of Prayer, with Linda Schubert, LIBRiA, Italy. 2000.
Gabriel Caruana, A Bank of Valletta Exhibition, catalogue, Malta. 2001
Gabriel Caruana, Ceramics LIBRiA, Italy. 2002
Viaggio In Italia, schizzi e disegni, Introduzione Paolo Portoghesi, LIBRiA, Italy. 2002
The Palette, John Borg Manduca, LIBRiA, Italy. 2004.
Between Sky + Earth, Norbert Attard, Heritage Malta, Malta. 2007.
Sanctuaries, Selected poems, LIBRiA, Italy. 2006.
Clavichords, Selected poems, LIBRiA, Italy. 2009.
Santorini, The Enchanted Isle, LIBRiA, Italy. 2011.
Tapestries, Selected poems, LIBRiA, Italy. 2012.


Richard England, Architect in Malta, Emile Henvaux. Editions de la Libraire Encyclopedique, Belgium, 1969.
Manikata: The Making of a Church, Charles Knevitt, a Manikata Church Publication, Malta, 1980. Second Edition, 1986.
Cards on the Table: Concept Drawings by Richard England, Maelee Thomson Foster, M.R.S.M., Malta. 1980. Second edition, revised and enlarged, 1983.
Connections: The Architecture of Richard England, Charles Knevitt, Lund Humphries, United Kingdom, 1984.
Transformations: Richard England, 25 Years of Architecture, Chris Abel, Mid-Med Bank Ltd, Malta, 1987.
Manikata Church Malta, Chris Abel, Academy Editions, United Kingdom, 1995.
Richard England, The Spirit of Place, l’ARCA Edizioni, Italy, 1998.
Richard England, by Edwin Heathcote, Wiley-Academy, United Kingdom, 2002.
Richard England Architect as Artist, Editor Dennis Sharp, Texts Manfredi Nicoletti and Mario Botta, BookART, London, 2007.
Between Shadow & Stone, Photography by Timmy Gambin, Midsea Books, Malta, 2010.


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