A photomontage of the installation at Ordinance Street, Valletta. Far left: The computer generated model of Il-Boċċa and its creators: Kristine Pace, Danjel Attard and Sacha Cutajar. Photo by Maria Borg
Come relax in Il-Boċċa, a playful wooden sphere created with cutting-edge design tools. Its shape helps reduce the structure’s scale. Valletta has grand buildings with narrow streets that cannot handle large structures.
Il-Boċċa was constructed in a workshop for EASA (Europe Architecture Students Assembly) 2015 Malta during which three Maltese tutors led a team of 21 architecture students from around the world. The workshop combined several techniques. First they drew sketches which were then developed into a digital form. Modelling software allowed easy modification and experimentation with the initial idea. This was followed by a physical 3D model (1:10 scale) to test the idea.
Out of the workshop came 47 wooden boards connected together using bolts and wooden spacers. Each board consists of a double layer of 11-plywood beech sheet. One layer of each board was Computer Numerical Control (CNC) cut. CNC cutting uses computers to guide precision shaping. This layer was used as a template to handcut a second board. Each set of two was then glued and nailed together with overlapping joints to provide strength.
The final product is a 3.5m loosely spherical structure providing shaded seating without obstructing Valletta’s historic views. The project will be placed in the capital city as part of Valletta 2018 Capital of Culture.