Parish Church of St Joseph, Manikata

I used to work at Golden Bay for five years therefore I passed by this church pretty frequently. It amazed me every time for being ‘so different’ in a very traditional country. I always wanted to check it out, but never had a chance. Often wondered what does it look like inside, but I never found it opened. Until now!

Manikata, a small village in the north of Malta, is arguably the most known for its iconic church. The building was the first one to be design by Prof. Richard England after his return to Malta from his studies at the studio of the Italian architect-designer Gio Ponti in Milan.

Parish Church of St Joseph, Manikata

Prof. England started working on the design of Manikata’s church in 1962 and the building was constructed between 1964 and 1974.

Does it remind you of something, but you can’t really place it? What if I told you that the design was inspired by the Maltese ‘girna’? Seeing the similarities now?

‘Grida’ is dry stone vernacular building that was primarily used was storage and temporary shelter. It can still be found in many rural areas in Malta.

Parish Church of St Joseph, Manikata

What kind of architectural style does it fall under you my wonder. It’s called Critical Regionalism and it seeks to provide an architecture rooted in the modern tradition, but tied to geographical and cultural context. Which explains the ‘girna’ inspiration.

The concept of Critical Regionalism also contributes to the exploration of the close relationships between the building, its construction and its meaning. Critical Regionalism is not simply regionalism in the sense of vernacular architecture (architecture characterized by the use of local materials and knowledge). It is a forward-looking approach to design that seeks to mediate between the global and the local languages of architecture.

Blogs like these remind me of the happy times when I was an art student. I love architecture. I studied art for 4 years and one of the main subjects was history of art and architecture was one of the essentials obviously. πŸ™‚

Parish Church of St Joseph, Manikata

And this is what the Parish Church of Saint Joseph in Manikata looks from inside. It is a rather small, intimate church.

Simple decor, nothing over the top. I often find churches’ interiors busy, overdecorated and showing off the wealth of the church. I know the decor is meant to ‘wow’ the visitors, but I much prefer simplicity.

Parish Church of St Joseph, Manikata

Here is the altar. Nice, clean, modern. I’m not a church goes, but if I was I feel that I would be rather distracted with all the gold and decor. I would be probably looking everywhere and hardly listening to the service. Maybe that’s just me.

Parish Church of St Joseph, Manikata

This church is not massive so it was a rather a quick visit. We were also lucky to find the side door open as we just happened to be passing by between services on Sunday morning.

Parish Church of St Joseph, Manikata

I love the lines and the curves of this church. For some reason I find it really pleasant and soothing. Have you been? Do you like this style of architecture?

Also if you like my photography and would like to see more, I have launched my own Maltatina Memory Game which you can buy here.