martes, 27 de agosto de 2013

St James' Square

St James' Square was created on the initiative of Henry Jerman, the first earl of St. Albans, in the 1660s. The land was initially leased from the Crown in 1662, but Jermyn managed to convince Charles II to give him most of the land as a gift in 1665. The king was presumably attracted to the idea of a new aristocratic quarter in close vicinity to St James' Palace. Jermyn proposed a square with large mansions, about 13 or 14 in total, and the gift was given on the basis that aristocrats would not build substantial houses on land subject to a sub-lease arrangement.

The layout of plots had changed considerably by the time the square began to take shape in the 1670s. The idea of large mansions had been abandoned, and what was built in the end were terrace houses on a total of 22 plots of varying sizes. With a few exceptions, the houses were uniform in height and design. The facades were in red brick, with windows capped by a simple combination of stone architrave and cornice. Roofs were steeply pitched with pedimented dormers. Simplicity of style may have been due to current taste. The gift of 1665 demanded that the design of the buildings should be subject to royal approval, and they were presumably accepted by the Surveyor General of Works, John Denham. It may even have been his design.

The earliest plots were sold to nobles, but later buyers also included speculative builders who built houses for letting or re-leasing. As part of the scheme, Jermyn also created a market and provided a site for a church. The market was created to the east of the square on a site which was subsequently left out of the 1665 agreement and which Jermyn still had to lease from the Crown. The site was later cleared for the construction of Regent Street and Waterloo Place in 1816. The church was designed by Christopher Wren and built to the north of the square in 1676-84.

None of the original houses remain, but there are several new builds from the 18th-century. Since most of the plots were freeholds, the uniform appearance was soon lost as new owners replaced the old houses in current styles.

The house directly opposite is St. James' Square 13. The current building is presumed to be the work of Matthew Brettingham, working in about 1735-37. Unlike the original house from 1676, the ground storey is dressed in rusticated stone. The two upper stories are in brick but the surface is treated and the brickwork pattern painted on. Windows and parapet have undergone some later alterations and the chimney-stack is also a later addition.

To the right is the stucco-facade of St. James' Square 12. The architect was probably Thomas Cubitt and the current house was built in 1836. The work was undertaken on the behalf of Baron William King who took over the original house in 1833. He married the daughter of poet Lord Byron in 1835, and there is a blue plaque to show that she lived there. The original house was built in 1674 on behalf of Cyril Wyche. The facade seems unaltered in a view of the square dated 1752 but appears stuccoed in 1812. There is no record of a new-build prior to 1836. 

Number 11 has a stuccoed facade by Robert Adam from around 1775, but the house was originally built in plain brick, with a design identical to numbers 10 and 9. The builder of all three was Benjamin Timbrell, with assistance from architect Henry Flitcroft, in 1736. A window on the east front of number 9 (facing Duke of York Street) was added by Hesketh and Stokes in 1906.The ground storey of number 11 was  altered by Trollope and Sons in 1877. The original house, covering  all three plots with a total of eleven window bays, was the largest in the square and the property of Henry Jermyn from 1676 to 1682.

The corner building (St James' Square 14) is one of the narrowest in the square, with a frontage of only 27 feet. The present house was built for the London Library and was designed by J. Osborne Smith in 1896–8. A previous design by Robert Adam from 1776 was never carried out and the house stood substantially as originally built in 1676. The facade is in Portland stone and appears to be influenced by Elizabethan architecture, with its mullioned windows.

Number 15, also in Portland stone, is decorated with an ionic portico and was designed by James Stuart in 1764-6 on behalf of Thomas Anson. The balcony was added by Samuel Wyatt in 1791.  The previous house from 1676 was demolished in the summer of 1763, and the new house by Stuart was the first stone facade in the whole square.

The stuccoed front to the left is St. James' Square 16-17, built for the East India and Club in 1865. The architect for rebuilding was Charles Lee working on behalf of George Myers and Sons. Number 16 was originally built by John Angier in 1676, but was demolished by Thomas Anson in 1789. Anson sold the empty plot in 1804 and a new house was built in 1807. The East India Club bought the freehold of the site in 1861-2. In 1863, they also bought number 17 and joined the two properties together. The site of number 17 was originally part of Halifax House, which also included the present site of number 18. The house was built for George Savile, the first Marquess of Halifax, and was one of the larger houses, with an eighty-foot frontage to the square. It was demolished by the carpenter Thomas Phillips in 1725-26 and replaced with two separate houses. Number 17 was incorporated into the rebuild for the East India Club, while number 18, on the corner to King Street, was give a new classical facade in painted cement in 1846. This was done on behalf of the owner, Sir John Beckett, and the work was carried out by builders Elger and Kelk to a design by John Johnson. 

On the opposite corner of King Street stands St. James's Square 19 (first right). This site was redeveloped for Harwood International in 1999-2000. The original house was built by Richard Frith in 1677 on behalf of the Earl of Essex. It was demolished as late as 1894, but the facade had already been refaced, a parapet added to conceal the roof and the King Street front may have been rebuilt entirely. It is supposed that this work was carried out in the late 18th century. After 1894, the site stood empty until it was bought by Cleveland House Ltd in 1897. A new office building was built to a design by Rolfe and Matthews in 1898-99. It was initially used as departments for the War Office but was converted to residential use after 1909. The building was replaced with a new office building in 1966.

St. James's Square 20-21 was made into a single property in 1936 by architects Mewès and Davis. In doing so, they extended the pilastered facade of number 20, a design by Robert Adam from 1771-5. Number 20 was originally built by Abraham Storey in 1675. It was demolished by Sir Watkin Williams Wynn in 1771. Initially, Winn employed James Gandon to make plans for a new house on the site, but the job was later given to Robert Adam. The new facade had about the same proportions as Stuart's earlier facade at number 15 (three bays wide) and was also in Portland stone. Number 21 was originally built in 1675 but rebuilt in 1790-93. The work was carried out by Robert Furze Brettingham but the owner of the house, the Duke of Leeds, was dissatisfied and employed John Soane to make alterations. Soane made plans for a completely new house, but ended up only modifying Brettingham's work. The work was completed in 1796. The front of this house was built in 'white' bricks dressed with stone. It was demolished in 1933-34 on behalf of the National Sporting Club, but plans for a new building by Mewès and Davis were not carried out. Instead, the empty plot was sold to the Distillers Company in 1935, and in the following year the company also acquired number 20. Two alternative schemes for rebuilding were presented by Mewès and Davis: one giving separate facades to the two adjacent sites or an extension of number 20. The London County Council consented to the second alternative in July 1936. In addition, a mansard roof was added.  

The next building is Pall Mall 36-39. The northernmost part of the this plot, however, used to be occupied by a house, which would have been St James's Square 22. Before its demolition in 1847, the house was one of the best preserved in the whole square. William Chambers had worked on the house in 1771 but advised against the owner's wish to conceal the brick front. The house was nonetheless stuccoed by the autumn of 1799. It was sold to the Army and Navy Club in 1846 and was demolished the following year. The Army and Navy Club building was built to a design in Venetian style by C.O Parnell and Alfred Smith in 1848-50. The Caen stone decayed and had to be replaced with Portland stone in 1886. The building was replaced with a modern building in the 1950s. As such, it is similar to the building across the street (left). This was the site of the Junior Carlton Club (30 Pall Mall). It was replaced with a new club building in 1968 and is today used as an office building as the club was disbanded in 1977. The southern side of St. James's Square has always had addresses to Pall Mall, and the original houses didn't face the square and were not part of the overall composition.   

St. James' Square 33, on the corner of Charles II Street, is a design by Robert Adam from 1770–2, following the demolition of the original house from circa 1673. Alterations were carried out by John Soane in 1817-23, but mostly on the interior and the front facing Charles II Street. The Adam facade is a simple affair with flat arches of gauged brickwork over the windows while the cornice was surmounted by a plain parapet. An extra storey was added in the 19th-century and the cornice replaced. In 1910, the house was sold to the the English and Scottish Law Life Assurance Association. The ground storey was refronted in stone with porticos and a garret storey was added in 1911 by architects Edmeston and Gabriel. A cast-iron veranda added in the 19th century was removed and a stone balcony put in its place.

The yellow brick building, St. James's Square 32, was built in 1819-21 by Samuel Pepys Cockerell and his son Charles Robert Cockerell. The original house appear in the ratebooks in 1673, with a chimneystack running up the facade between it and the corner building at number 33. It was surveyed by Robert Mylne in 1770 and the house was repaired and refronted, and sold to the Bishop of London, Richard Terrick. Despite Samuel Pepys Cockerell's advice to repair the house, the bishop decided to rebuild in 1819. The front is pretty much as Cockerell designed it. The porch was added in 1931 by H. L. Anderson. The previous entrance was flanked by doric pilasters supporting a lintel. The cornice was originally surmounted by a plain blocking-course, of which two sections have been removed, probably in 1897. The dormer windows were also altered in 1897.

St. James's Square 31 was built by architects Gunton and Gunton in 1939. It replaced a previous building known as Norfolk House from 1748-52. However, there were originally two separate houses built on this plot. The southernmost of the two was the first house in the whole square and was built for Henry Jerman in 1667.  The earl later moved to St James's Square 9-11. The other house had a more narrow frontage and was built for John Belasyse in 1674, after the plans for the square had been altered to include smaller plots. The dukes of Norfolk acquired the original St. Albans House in 1722 and the Belasyse House in 1748. The original houses were subsequently demolished and replaced with a long front of 107 feet, built by Matthew Brettingham. The facade was in 'white' bricks, dressed with stone. The Dukes of Norfolk finally sold the house in 1937 to Rudolph Palumbo and P. M. Rossdale, who together formed the company Norfolk House (St. James's Square), Ltd. Plans for rebuilding were submitted by architects Gunton and Gunton but the request to builder taller than eighty feet were rejected. The revised application was approved in 1939. The music-room of Norfolk House was subsequently re-erected in the Victoria and Albert Museum. 

The protruding brown brick building is St. James Square 31A, which was built by an unknown builder in about 1772. Fourth and fifth storeys were added at later date (after 1850) and the doorway was inserted by Brian O'Rorke in 1936.

St James' Square 5, was refronted in Portland stone in 1854, but the house is originally from 1748-49 and was built by Matthew Brettingham for the earl of Stafford. The stone facade was designed by Thomas Cubitt and the rebuilding also included an extra story and the addition of a porch on the ground floor. The original house at this site was probably built around 1676 and narrowly escaped the fire at number 4 in 1725.

The site of St James's Square 6 is currently being redeveloped according to a design by GMW architects. The redevelopment includes 112,000 square feet of commercial offices, 13 residential units and a small art gallery. The new facade will be in Portland stone in respect for the surrounding buildings, and St James's Square 5 is being refurbished as part of the same project. The original house was built in 1676 by Abraham Storey. It lasted to 1819-20 when a new house was built on behalf of Frederick William Hervey, the Earl of Bristol. Several designs had been prepared by George Dance the younger, but these never came to fruition. Instead, work was carried out by an unknown architect named John Field. The new facade was in yellow brick with classical details in Portland Stone. An ionic porch was added in 1914. The house was pulled down in 1958 and a new office building was completed two years later, by architects Fitzroy Robinson and Partners

The red-brick facade on the edge to the left is from 1911 and was designed by Edwin Lutyens. The original house at number 7 was built by John Angier with assistance from Abraham Storey. It was subsequently sold to Richard Jones, Viscount of Ranelagh. The house was refronted with a plain brick facade, probably around 1783, and an iron veranda was added to the front in 1857. In 1909 it was bought by three brothers surnamed Farrer, and Lutyens rebuilt the house as their joint residence. The front was faced with red brick and a top storey was added. The house was requisitioned by the Government in 1943 and was used for as offices for the minister of Labour.

To the left of that building, on the corner of Duke of York Street, stands number 8, built in 1939 by architects Robert Angell and Curtis. The previous building was given a stucco facade in 1877-79. A proposal for rebuilding was submitted by the sports club in 1937, but the house was subsequently sold to G. E. Wallis and Sons, and new plans for rebuilding were submitted. The London County Council rejected the proposal to build higher than 80 feet and a revised application was submitted in 1939. A chapel previously stood at the back of the site with a front to Duke of York Street. As with number 7, the building was previously used by the Ministry of Labour.

St James's Square 4 was built on behalf of the Duke of Kent in 1726-8. The architect was Edward Shephard. The previous house had burnt down in 1725, and was originally built for Nicholas Barbon. An attic storey seems to have been added about 10 years before the house was destroyed. The house has gone through some 19th century alterations but is substantially as Shephard built it. Nancy Astor live there in 1912-42 and the house is now used by the The Naval and Military Club. It is the only address in the square to keep its garden and mews building at the back of the house.

The balconies were added later. The tall building in red brick on the right (St James's Square 3) is an office building by architects A. and D. Ospalek, constructed in 1933-34. The original house was built in 1675 on behalf of Edward Shaw but suffered partial collapse and was rebuilt after 1710. The architect of the new house is not known for certain but Nicholas Hawksmoor was involved and may have been chiefly responsible. Substantial rebuilding was carried out by John Soane in 1818-19. The first application to construct a modern office building came in 1929, but the site was left vacant until a new application was approved in 1933. The building is 20 feet taller than the limit imposed by the London Building Act of 1930 but was approved partly because the building faced an open space. Appeals from neighbours against the height were subsequently withdrawn. The stone panels represent London street-criers and were carved by Newbury Trent. 

Just outside the frame, to the right, stands St James Square 1-2, on the corner of Charles II Street. This was originally a single house, built for Henry Benet, Earl of Arlington. The house soon passed to his brother John Benet, Baron Ossulston, and became known as Ossulston House. The original appearance was lost due to rebuilding in 1725-27 and the house was demolished in 1753. Two new houses were built in its place by builders Timbrell, Spencer and John Barlow. London and Westminster Bank bought number 1 in 1845 and number two after war damage in 1950. The two houses were subsequently demolished and a new building was constructed by architects Mewès and Davis for Westminster Bank in 1954-6. It survived less than 50 years and was demolished in 1996. The current post-modern building was constructed circa 2000 for Ericsson's London offices. It was sold to BP in 2001.  

St James' church, Piccadilly, at the top of Duke of York Street

viernes, 23 de agosto de 2013

Britannic House

Britannic House was designed by Edwin Lutyens and built in 1924-27 for the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. It is located on the northwest corner of Finsbury Circus on a plot between Moorgate and the circus.

Finsbury Circus was originally created in 1812 in Moorfields, one of the last pockets of open land in the city of London. At the south end stood Bethlehem Hospital, a building constructed in 1675 according to a design by Robert Hooke, but which was torn down in 1814 due its dilapidated state. The hospital moved into a new building in Southwark. The gardens of the circus was laid out with a circuit of lime trees in 1815, and use of the gardens was restricted to the residents of the surrounding buildings. Britannic House replaced the last of the circus' original buildings. 

Britannic House is a seven-storey steel structure, with a concave facade on to the oval-shaped circus. The details are classical and according to Nikolaus Pevsner inspired by North Italian mannerism. The statues are the work of Francis Derment Wood.   

The Anglo-Persian Oil Company changed its name to the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in 1935 and became British Petroleum (BP) in 1954.

The west facade faces Moorgate, a street named after a 15th century gate in the city walls, demolished in 1761-62. 

Opposite Britannic House stands Salisbury House, built in 1901 according to designs by architects Davis & Emmanuel. The Building to the right is Electra House by John Belcher (1902)

Hatfield House

The Royal Palace of Hatfield was originally built in 1497 by John Morton, bishop of Ely and minister to King Henry VII. It was seized by the crown during the reign of Henry VIII, and his daughters Elizabeth I and Mary I both lived at the palace at different times. The palace originally had four wings arranged around a courtyard. However, in 1607 James I exchanged Hatfield for Theobalds House, which had been built by William Cecil, chief advisor to Elizabeth I, in the period 1564-85. Hatfield thus became the property of Robert Cecil, who demolished three of the palace wings and used the bricks to construct Hatfield House.

Hatfield House is situated at higher ground than the former royal palace. The main approach to the house is via a viaduct, constructed above the town of Hatfield in 1872. The first view of the house is of the north front, though prior to 1872 this was actually the garden front. The facade is very square in shape, with gently protruding wings and with projecting bays as the only exception to an otherwise flat silhouette. The central clock tower, however, is also visible from this vantage point.

The main entrance is typical of Jacobean classicism, adorned with Flemish-derived strapwork ornamentation. The term is used because the elaborate geometric patterns resemble leather straps. The entranceway was presumable designed by carpenter Robert Lyming.

The south front, originally the main entrance, is a lot more elaborate than the north front. Whereas the projection of wings on the north front is so slight as to be almost unnoticeable, they are prominent on this side and end with ogee-capped towers. The central wing is decorated with a loggia, though the arcades have been filled in, and the central bay is carved in a three-storey frontispiece.   

The loggia and frontispiece was designed by Robert Lyming, but is unclear to what extent he designed the building as a whole. Robert Cecil is also said to have consulted Simon Basil and Inigo Jones, and Cecil himself probably took part in the design process. As his father, he was an avid builder. He built Cecil house in the Strand and extensively remodelled Beaufort House in Chelsea and Cranborne Manor in Dorset, the last of which still stands.  

The second storey of the loggia houses the long gallery. According to the guide, the purposes of galleries such as this was to provide a space for women to take walks in bad weather.

The west wing gives a sense of the discordant use of mass, presumably the result of changes to the original plans being implemented midway through construction. Building works began in 1607 and were completed in 1611. 

Robert Lyming was later to design Blickling Hall in Norfolk, a project for which he was described as architect and builder. It was to be the last in its style and is actually a younger building that Inigo Jones' Banqueting Hall at Whitehall. It was completed in 1624.

Blickling House

lunes, 5 de agosto de 2013



The ground floor of Palazzo Santa Sofia in the former Maltese capital of Mdina is thought to be the oldest remnant of medieval architecture in the city. The date 1233 is inscribed on the facade, a period when Malta was part of of the kingdom of Sicily and the Holy Roman Empire. The first floor with its gothic-style windows was only added some time after 1938. The building is similar in appearance to the nearby Palazzo Falson, also originating in the 13th century but rebuilt in 1495 and completed in the mid-17th century. The church at the back is dedicated to the annunciation of the virgin and was built in 1660-75 by French military engineer Medico Blondel des Croisettes.

Saint John's Co-Cathedral was built in 1573-78 to a design by the architect Girolamo Cassar, as the communal church for the Knights Hospitaller in the new Maltese capital of Valletta. The presence of the knights was established 40 years earlier when Charles V of Spain, who was also King of Sicily, granted the island in 1530. The knights had lost their previous headquarters on Rhodes in 1522 due to an Ottoman invasion and were challenged by the Turks again on Malta in 1565. This time, however, the knights held off the attackers and the siege was abandoned. The decision to build a new capital city was taken immediately after the victory as an effort to eliminate a remaining weak point in the defences of the Grand Harbour, where the knights were based. The new city was named Humilissima Civets Valletta, in honour of Grand Master Jean Parisot de Valette.

The oratory and sacristy of the church were added in 1598-1604 and the interior was given a baroque redesign in the 1660s. Annexes were also built in 1748 and it became co-cathedral of Malta by papal decree in 1816.

The Grand Master's Palace was also originally designed by Cassar and built in 1571-80, incorporating previous houses built in the 1560s including a palace completed in 1569 for Eustachio del Monte. The palace was expanded and embellished by successive grand masters, a second gateway and timber balconies were added to the main facade in the mid-18th century. The knights were expelled from Malta after the French invasion in 1798 and the palace eventually became the residence of the British governors of Malta. Self-government was granted in 1921 and the palace became the house of parliament, continuing in this function after independence in 1964. Parliament moved to a new building in 2015.


The Knights Hospitaller moved the capital from Mdina to Birgu when they first arrived on Malta in 1530, in order to establish a strategic defensive base on the coast. The town was quickly fortified and the medieval church of St. Lawrence was adopted as the knights' first communal church on Malta, which it remained until 1570s when the new church in Valletta was completed. St. Lawrence was rebuilt to a design by architect Lorenzo Gafa in 1681-96 and was consecrated in 1723. Birgu is also known as Vittoriosa in honour of the the great siege of Malta in 1565.

St Paul's cathedral in Mdina was built in 1696-1705 to a design by architect Lorenzo Gafa after the previous cathedral was damaged by earthquake in 1693. According to tradition, the site was the home  of the Roman governor of the ancient city Melite, who became the first bishop of Malta after Paul the apostle was shipwrecked on the island and converted the population to Christianity. The previous cathedral was built in the 12th and 13th centuries, as the original had fallen into disrepair during the period of Arab rule, from the fall of Sicily in 827 to the Norman conquest in 1091. Lorenzo Gafa had already replaced the medieval choir after 1679 and this earlier work was incorporated into the new building.

Palazzo Vilhena, also known as the Magisterial Palace, was built in Mdina in 1726-28 to a design by architect Charles Francois de Mondion. It was built as a summer palace for the Grand Master Antonio Manoel de Vilhena on the former site of a Byzantine fort. The fort had developed into a castle in the middle ages and been partly demolished in the 1530s before being converted to an administrative building by the Knights Templar.  The building was used as a hospital at several periods in the 19th and 20th centuries and has been a museum since 1973.

The Auberge de Castille was originally built in the 1570s to house the Knights Templar of Castile, Leon and Portugal, but was redesigned or entirely rebuilt in the 1741-44 by architect Andrea Belli. The church on the left is dedicated to St Catherine of Italy and stands adjacent to the Auberge d'Italie. It was originally built in 1576 though the current facade is from 1713 and alterations were also made in the 17th century.

The litte Doric temple in the Lower Barakka Gardens in Valletta is one of the first monuments to British rule on Malta. It was erected in 1810 by public subscription in honour of Vice-admiral Alexander Ball, who led the blockade against French-occupied Malta in 1798-1800 before becoming the first British governor of Malta in 1801.

St Paul's pro-cathedral was built in 1839-44 to a design by architect William Scamp on the former site of the German Knights Hospitaller. The project was initiated after a visit by Queen Dowager Adelaide when she discovered that there was no Anglican place of worship on Malta. The tower, which is one of Valletta's most recognisable landmarks, is similar to St Martin-in-the-Fields in London.  It is one of three cathedrals of the diocese of Gibraltar in Europe, which covers all of Europe and Morocco. The other two cathedrals are in Gibraltar and Brussels.

St Publius Parish church was originally built in 1733-68 and the facade had been rebuilt 1771 but the current front with temple portico and bell towers is from 1889-92, by architect Nicholas Zammit. It was partly destroyed during bombing in 1942 and was restored in the 1950s. The church is located in Floriana, a suburb outside the city gate of Valletta, originally established in 1724 as Borgo Vilhena. It was later renamed in honour of the military engineer Pietro Paolo Floriani, who built Valletta's outer defences in the 17th century.

Triq it-Teatru l- Antik, Old Theatre Street: Most of the buildings on Malta are built with a yellowish limestone.  However, the city is full of ornate, painted wooden bay windows and balconies.

Triq Żekka, Old Mint Street, takes it name from the Order's mint, located in this street. Also on this street, is found the basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. A chapel was constructed in 1570, and was replaced with a larger structure designed by Girolamo Cassar in 1586. In the 17th century, the church was transferred to the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The facade was redesigned in 1852 by Giuseppe Bonavia, and in 1895 the church was elevated to the status of Minor Basilica. However, the basilica was heavily damaged by bombing during World War II, and the present structure was built as recent as 1958-1981, according to a new design by Guzé D'Amato. The reinforced concrete dome is 62 metres high and one of the most prominent features of the Valletta skyline.

Before Valletta, the capital of Malta was Mdina (known previously as Città Vecchia or Città Notabile). It is located at one of the island's highest points and furthest away from the sea. The city was inhabited by Phoenicians, who called the city Maleth, around 700 BC and was possibly fortified at this early date. It was since taken over by Romans, Arabs and Normans. The city grid is mostly medieval, but several buildings are baroque, due in large part to an earthquake in 1693. The building on the right is the Cathedral Museum, a baroque 18th century palace originally used as a seminary. 

Senglea is one of the Three Cities in the Grand Harbour Area, created by the Knight Hospitaller as a massive line of fortification on the eastern side of the Harbour. Fort St Michael was built in 1552-53 and played a major part in the Ottoman siege in 1556. By that time, a walled town already existed and was given the name Senglea in honour of Grand Master Claude De La Sengle. After the siege, the city was also referred to as Civitas Invicta (Unconquered City). Most of the city was destroyed during World War II and has relatively few buildings of historic interest. The new Basilica was completed in 1957, according to a design by Vincenzo Bonello. The original church on this site was completed in 1580.

The Parliament Building was built in 2011-15 to a design by the architect Renzo Piano, being part of a larger project including a new city gate and conversion of the ruins of the royal opera house into an open-air theatre. Both the earlier gate from 1853 and opera house from 1866 was destroyed during an aerial bombardment in 1942. A new gate had been built in 1964-65, becoming the fourth city gate of Valletta, but was demolished in 2011. Plans to rebuild the opera house, originally by architect Edward Barry, were eventually abandoned. The opera house was built in 1866 by architect Edward Barry.