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Maltese wooden balconies: a technical and scientific study.

Authors: Michael Formosa, ,
  • Institute: Institute of Creative Arts
  • Symposium: Environmental and Cultural Sustainability
  • Day: 1 , Session: 1 , Location: Conference Hall 1
  • Session Type: Medium 15 min (Presentation of ongoing research developments and findings) , Start: 10:20 , End: 10:40


Following the specialization in science and conservation of wood and furniture, further research will be dedicated specifically to local wooden balconies. The research will increase the understanding on local balconies, which will be essential to address sustainability of cultural heritage. It will also add to the author’s expertise in the area, which will then translate to a higher pedagogical value at MCAST.

Due to our harsh climate, i.e., wet, cold and humid winters and dry, hot summers, ongoing degradation of external woodworks is a reality and their conservation poses endless challenges. Research is being carried out on three balconies having historical value. One of the balconies also has artistic values. This study focuses on three different aspects which will be delivered in two phases between 2020 and 2023. One of the aims is publishing a paper in an academic journal at the end of the study.

The research will be focused on the following:

Technical and scientific study

Photographic and graphic documentation supported by illustrations of various joints used for such constructions.

• Scientific investigations to identify constituent materials, basically wood and surface applications. Additionally, microscopy will be carried out to assess any biological degradation. Environmental monitoring of at least one location will be carried out for a period of twelve months.

Conservation of local apertures

• Analysis of data collected from the first year of research.

• Identifying common biological, physical, mechanical and chemical degradation.

• Proposing methods of stopping chemical and biological degradation.

• Evaluating conservation and ethical values to propose the best solution to save apertures by preferably retaining as much as original material as possible.

• Carrying out a seminar to local agencies such as Restoration directorate, Heritage Malta and also any other private sector who are involved in the conservation of local apertures.

Promotion on the local media, presentations and discussions will be incorporated in this study.