Richard England: Maltese Maveric

4 Nov 2018 - Viewpoint

By Mbenoit 4th November 2018

Yasmin Shariff speaks at the Presidential Palace in Malta in October 2018 about the moving work by Malta’s most eminent architect, Richard England.

The Malta Independent on Sunday (4.11.18) described Professor Richard England is the great chameleon. His books, like his architecture, poetry, paintings ,drawings, writings and photos are works of art. He is a perfectionist and his elegance permeates his thoughts, words and actions. His latest book Chambers of Memory: roaming the mansions of Mnemosyne was launched recently at San Anton Palace in the presence of our President, Dr Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, friends and family. A few days before the launch the President of Italy had nominated Prof. England Commendatore Dell’ Ordine Della Stella D’Italia, an honour, richly de-served,  which was bestowed by H.E. the Italian ambassador Mario Sammartino at a ceremony at the ambassador’s residence in Ta’Xbiex

The presenter that evening at San Anton Palace was Arlette Pisani, lucid and graceful in her introductions. There were three guest speakers: Prof. Yasmin Shariff, Dr ShaÖzkan and Prof. Conrad Thake. Prof. Shariff, architect and environmentalist touched on the family aspect of the book which gave her speech a personal touch.

Professor Özkan, a Turkish Architect, Urban Planner, Historian, Author and Theorist and at present Chairman of the World Architecture Community, related how he had first met Richard back in June 1986 in Geneva at the Aga Khan Awards for Architecture office in Pregny. He quoted from Daniel Libeskind’s letter towish Prof. England Happy Birth-day: “A great architect – Brilliant Artist – Outstanding Thinker –Beautiful Human Being…”. The hand written letter is included in the book like several others. Prof. Libeskind is a well-known architect, artist and set designer.

Prof.Özkan also contributed apiece to the book. Let me quote him: “In this first meeting he im-pressed me very much with his warm charisma and many values that I shared with him in several aspects of arts, architecture, and life.”Prof. Thake spoke next. Let me quote briefly from his speech (he also wrote the introduction to Chambers of Memory): “His erudite knowledge of various literary texts is complemented with his life-long passion for the opera, in particular for the tenor voice, an interest further cemented by his friendship with the Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja. Richard is quintessentially a humanist, a modern day uomo-universale in the Renaissance tradition embracing a wide spectrum of interests and artistic pursuits. However, it should be stressed that to him these endeavours do not have rigid boundaries, they are intrinsically fluid and permeable, all enriching in their own way. Still, in spite of his wide range of interests, he considers himself to be first and foremost an architect.

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