Marsa North Electrical Distribution Centre

Work: Civil and Finishing works including rock stabilization for the Construction, Installation and Commissioning of 132/33kV switchgears, transformers and reactors at Marsa North Electrical Distribution Centre using Environmental Friendly Construction Materials and Products.  Sub-contractors for Siemens S.p.A.

Location: Marsa- Malta

Design Statement

Marsa North Electrical Distribution Centre is a state of the art architectural gem of power generation buildings in Malta linking the historic power station with a contemporary industrial building merging principles of authentic re-use and sustainable new built. Construction is adapted to its surroundings and not vice-versa, where the architectural programme in conjunction with geographical location were instrumental in defining both the interior and the exterior forms.

The historic and the contemporary

The new structure, built within rock cut volumes, is constructed directly above the scheduled Grade 2 historic underground power station, comprising rock hewn galleries and oil tanks. The historic arched rock chambers, perforated through their apex, are linked with the new building through rock cut cylindrical vertical shafts. Underground galleries are assigned back their original use, adding a contemporary layer to meet modern technologies in electrical distribution. The archeologically sensitive site is surrounded by industrial activities located within the grand harbour area.

The concept and the design provides a clear reflection of change for power generation, leaving aside the familiar past numerous electrical distribution centres in several areas around the Maltese Islands. This new building typology is producing novel, innovative design illustrating technical advancements in construction technology applications and equipment. Building responds to society expectations of a far more knowledgeable design, quality and aspirations.

Passive architecture

The building is a showpiece of passive architecture employing large louvered door openings and louvered steel roof structures, with appropriate air flow and circulation within and around the building. Specifications for energy performance requirements, fire compartmentalization, fire rated elements, electrical conductivity and seismic resistivity underpins the high technology adopted for this building. Walls, forming huge cubes to provide 14m clear spans in three dimensional volumes to accommodate transformers, were constructed in architectural prefabricated reinforced concrete twin wall elements. The multidisciplinary design approach utilised innovative Building Information Modelling (BIM) tools and technologies which aided in providing a sustainable and cost effective design and built innovative solution.