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Blue Pearl: A Cliff Hut in Blue Grotto, Malta Concept Design by Dill Khan M.Eng and Xian Zhu

Project name:
Blue Pearl
Architecture firm:
Blue Grotto, Malta
Tools used:
Autodesk Revit, AutoCAD, Rhinoceros 3D, Adobe Photoshop, V-ray
Principal architect:
Dill Khan M.Eng
Design team:
Xian Zhu
Dill Khan & Zian Zhu
Built area:
500 m²
Site area:
Design year:
Completion year:
The Cliff Hut competition D&A Publishers
Concept - Design, Competition Proposal
Residential › House, Futuristic Architecture

Dill Khan M.Eng and Xian Zhu: Location description: Malta is a group of islands in the Mediterranean Sea between Sicily and the coast of North Africa. The state is known for its historical sites and natural rocky landscapes. We have planned our building to be near the world-famous Blue Grotto. This is a cave in the southwest of the country. The water is very clear and shimmers sky blue in the sunlight.

Concept explanation:

The blue whale stands for its size, beauty and the diversity in our nature. The eternal lines of the waves of the water can also be found in the building. When we came up with the idea, we were inspired by the body structure of a blue whale with the hard scales that we use as our supporting structure (reinforced concrete) and the furrows that we interpreted as smart glass and are attached to the supporting structure.

From the sea our Cliff Hut is perceived from afar and from the mainland we onlysee a floor ceiling that protrudes towards the sea, which acts as a viewing platform for all visitors and opens the view towards the sea. We consciously reduce the presence of the building so that the place is treated with dignity. We stage an architectural composition of dynamic rooms. The revitalization of the place in the form of structural interventions creates an exciting relationship between inside and outside, above and below, old (cliff) and new, by taking up the different characteristics and conditions of the place and the landscape and interpreting them in an intervention: alongside play with the height and depth derived from the landscape, we created carefully selected places of retreat and wonderful views.

An elevator, which adorns the rock face from the viewing platform to the footbridge, acts as a link. On the first level there is our sleeping area with a bed and a small changing room. The floor ceiling is free, gives a feeling of floating, we see the lower level like in a gallery. The view towards the sea gives people a feeling of weightlessness and a feeling of freedom. Our lounge area with a kitchen, toilet and balcony is on the second level. Sunsets, the stars in the sky at night and the view of the sea should enhance the quality during the stay. On the water level by the jetty, visitors can fish, sunbathe or moor their boat.

Our comment

As young architects, we live in a time that is changing very quickly. We are lucky enough to have a profession where we can travel a lot. This gives us the opportunity to visit beautiful places and to be inspired by nature. While we were looking for the location for our design, we often fell into discussions. We have become aware that a lot will change as a result of climate change. We found pictures of many beautiful places that are already negatively influenced by climate change.

For our design, we wanted a place that everyone knows. Somewhere world famous perhaps, So we decided on the Blue Grotto in Malta. We deliberately placed a blue pearl in the visitors' horizon, like the Cloud Gate in Millennium Park in Chicago, which attracts their attention, guides their way and makes them think. Here we asked ourselves the very question whether this place will also be as beautiful in the future as it is today. Unfortunately we cannot answer this question, but maybe we can do our part to ensure that these beautiful places in our world are preserved.

Jury Commentary

The Cliff Hut is wehere we all want to go. The connection between heaven and earth. The esplande at the end of the road, a viewpoint that feeds on nature and hiding the rest of the program at its feet. Blue Pearl is enjoyed in ist verticality, efficient systems and organic forms. The project Returns to the three – dimensional horizon, where the line takes shape and acquires volume, modifying every known form of landscape. It is at this connecting Point between the summit and the sea where the project shows its roots. It is in the Connection of all possible Worlds his skill: Whi ever thought that the simplest way to reach the top of a cliff was through ist lowes point.

By Naser Nader Ibrahim

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