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Svetozar Andreeev: Contemporary Society Needs New Symbols

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"Contemporary society needs new symbols" Written By Svetozar Andreev:

Times have changed, and we no longer build, as we did during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, cathedrals which symbolised our spiritual victory over death, chaos and destruction, and which embodied the extent of what humankind could achieve at that time.

Constructed to the very limit of what could be achieved with the technology and materials available at the time, they reflected the image and impression of the world of contemporary society that was oft repeated in frescoes, stained-glass windows, sculpture and music.They were centres in which was reflected the understanding of the past and the relationship towards the present of the people who built them.

Since that time, our perception of the world around us has altered radically, our horizons have broadened, and today we possess limitless opportunities thanks to the materials, technologies and means of expression that we now command.

However, the greater the possibilities, the more frequently we show a complete helplessness when faced with the task of synthesising our knowledge and world view into a unified whole which extends beyond the bounds of the utilitarian, and it often seems that the people who built those cathedrals were a great deal bolder then than we are now.

Nevertheless, we cannot refute the fact that modern society needs new symbols which reflect the same issues which confronted the people who built beautiful cities many centuries ago, moreover we understand that we cannot live on monuments to the past alone, and we are now confronted with the necessity to create new projects which reflect the epoch in which we are living.

These thoughts form the principal motive which led us to create the Heart of Malta complex, a monument which bears within its form a reminder of the merciless power and unpredictability of nature, and is intended to become what the cathedrals of the past became – the quintessence of our contemporary culture as it desperately strives to break the bounds of what it possible.

We see this project as an open window into the future, and a proud response to the vicissitudes of our own history and destiny.

I would like to remind those who separate the terms “natural” and “human” when discussing integration of structures into a natural context, that a human being’s consciousness is also a part of nature, and also lives according to her immutable laws, and that such a separation looks at the very least presumptive. We are, after all, also a part of nature, just one which possesses self-awareness and the ability to interpret that which occurs around us.

In spite of the superficial impression of being in conflict with the environment, what we have in this project is an example of the ultimate conceptual and architectural integration of a structure into its physical context, meaning that here we can speak of a successful solution which goes beyond the bounds of the concept of urbanisation. The image of an Azure Window built from steel, one which reflects the sky, the land, and the sea – this is a very powerful image.

Therefore we are confident that we have been able to fully and faithfully reflect in our project the interaction of humanity and nature, the theme of downfall and prevailing, as a fundamental leitmotif for contemporary culture, having created an architectural design with its own drama and story, and whose familiar silhouette, in the edges of which reality itself dissolves, will intrigue and fascinate many people all over the world, and will reflect in the best possible way the spirit of Malta’s past.

Architect Svetozar Andreev

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