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Rediffusion House is a Modernist building located in Gwardamanġa, limits of Pietà, Malta. Designed by the architect Carmelo Falzon, the building was completed in 1958 for Rediffusion (Malta) Ltd. It briefly housed Television Malta in the 1960s before a purpose-built Television House was constructed in 1964. The building continued to house Rediffusion until 1975, when the company's operations were taken over by Xandir Malta.

Rediffusion House
Pietà Malta Buildings 19.jpg
View of the building in 2017
Alternative namesBroadcasting House
PBS Creativity Hub
General information
StatusIntact
TypeCommercial building
Architectural styleModernist
LocationGwardamanġa, Pietà, Malta
Address75, St. Luke's Road
Coordinates35°53′32″N 14°29′33″E / 35.8922°N 14.4926°E / 35.8922; 14.4926Coordinates: 35°53′32″N 14°29′33″E / 35.8922°N 14.4926°E / 35.8922; 14.4926
Inaugurated23 January 1958
RenovatedFebruary–December 2012
Cost£150,000
Renovation cost€3.1 million
ClientRediffusion (Malta) Ltd
OwnerPublic Broadcasting Services
Design and construction
ArchitectCarmelo Falzon

The building remained in use, becoming known as Broadcasting House, and it has housed the Public Broadcasting Services since that company took over from Xandir Malta in 1991. Between 2006 and 2008, plans were made to demolish the building and replace it with a new headquarters for PBS, but these were not carried out due to the building's significance in both Malta's architecture and broadcasting history. The building was renovated in 2012, and at this point it was renamed the PBS Creativity Hub.

HistoryEdit

Broadcast Relay Service (Malta) Ltd began broadcasting in Malta in 1935, and the company changed its name to Rediffusion (Malta) Ltd in 1955. Rediffusion House was built in the 1950s to house the company's headquarters and studios. Prior to construction of Rediffusion House, the company was based in Valletta.[1]

The Rediffusion company acquired the plot of land in Gwardamanġa from the Ursuline Sisters on 28 December 1954, for a perpetual annual rent of £206 for 100 years. The agreement stated that the place should not be used for any immoral activities.[2] The building was designed by the architect Carmelo Falzon, and the project cost around £150,000.[3][4] The first broadcast from the new building occurred on 30 December 1957,[1] and it was inaugurated by Governor Sir Robert Laycock on 23 January 1958.[4][5]

 
Television House, which is located close to Rediffusion House

The Maltese Broadcasting Authority (MBA), later transferred to the Public Broadcasting Services (PBS), was founded in 1961 to regulate both the redifussion and television, then being only the Redifussion (Malta) Limited and The Malta Television Service Limited.[6] When Television Malta was introduced in 1962,[7] transmissions were made from Rediffusion House until a new building known as Television House was constructed nearby. Television House was completed on 6 February 1964.[8]

Rediffusion (Malta) Ltd was dissolved in 1975, and its operations were taken over by Xandir Malta, the broadcasting division of TeleMalta Corporation.[1] Public Broadcasting Services Ltd (PBS) was established in 1991 to take over Xandir Malta, and continues to operate today.[9] The building remained in use throughout these developments, and Rediffusion House (along with Television House) was scheduled as a Grade 2 building by MEPA in 2001.[10]

By 2006, both Rediffusion House and Television House were in a relatively run down condition,[11] and they were regarded as obsolete and insufficient for the needs of PBS, so plans were made to demolish both buildings. A new PBS headquarters along with apartments, penthouses and garages were to be built on the site of Rediffusion House, while the site of Television House would be developed with apartments and penthouses. The sites for the apartments were to be sold to a third party developer, with the money from the sale being used to construct the new headquarters. The required applications were submitted to MEPA in 2007.[12]

 
Rediffusion House as viewed from the rear

The proposed demolition was controversial, with Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar and the Chamber of Architects speaking out against the proposal, stating that both buildings are rare examples of quality Modernist architecture in Malta.[13] In 2008, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi instructed PBS to withdraw the application, saving both buildings from demolition.[11][14] This move was welcomed by the Chamber of Architects.[5][15]

A restoration and renovation of the building began to be carried out in February 2012,[16] and the building became known as the PBS Creativity Hub.[17] It was reinaugurated by Prime Minister Gonzi on 28 December 2012.[18] The renovation project cost a total of €3.1 million.[19] The renovation received a Second Diploma award in 2013 by Din l-Art Helwa for the conservation and regeneration.[20]

ArchitectureEdit

Rediffusion House is a Modernist building, and it was one of the first non-educational institutional buildings to be built in that style in Malta. Through this style, the building projected broadcasting as being a future-oriented concept.[3][4] It is considered to be one of the finest buildings of its type in Malta.[21]

The building included offices, studios, control rooms and libraries.[5] Iconic features of the building include a canopy above the main entrance[3] and a transmission tower with porthole-like apertures. The main façade has long horizontal windows and the entire building is painted white. These features give the building a characteristic Modernist aesthetic.[5] A distinctive clock similar to that found at the Broadcasting House in London was included in the building's original designs, but it was never installed since the funds intended for it were used to buy television equipment in the 1960s.[2]

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