There exists a widely acknowledged need to reduce energy demand and improve efficiency of existing structures. In this regard, heritage buildings have been shown to offer great potential. Although their adaptive re-use undoubtedly presents a challenge, the conservation and eco-refurbishment of heritage buildings plays an integral role in the move towards a more sustainable future. 

Studies have shown that significant energy savings can be achieved without impinging on heritage value. However, proposals for improving energy performance must address several different aspects.  These include: respecting protection status, satisfying modern requirements generated by the new use, retaining balanced environmental conditions for artefacts and achieving comfort for occupants.  The optimum result of any retrofit should comprise a rational balance of these components. 

The difficulty in achieving this balance is clearly exhibited through San Anton Palace in Attard. Now the primary residence and main office base of the President of Malta, this seventeenth century building originally served as a country retreat for Antoine de Paule, Grand Master of the Order of St. John. The building is required to accommodate a vast diversity of uses, whilst simultaneously maintaining the highest standards of heritage protection status. 

The palace has undergone several changes over the centuries, having been intermittently restored and modified to house new uses introduced over consecutive presidential terms. It, therefore, offers a challenging case study, where conservation principles must be balanced with the need to provide functionality and comfort. This paper will present an assessment of the evolution of uses and concomitant architectural amendments at San Anton Palace. The conservation principles adopted during these interventions will be discussed in terms of the structural alterations and new elements, which will be identified through archived drawings as well as interviews with the current and past presidents.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAcceptance date - 2016
EventREHAB 2017 -
Duration: 14 Jun 201716 Jun 2017


ConferenceREHAB 2017


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