This project is an extension and refurbishment of an existing protected friary building in Knocktopher, Co. Kilkenny.
The original collection of extensions and lean to structures to the rear of the Friary building and adjoining Church were demolished and a new master plan for this small complex of buildings was conceived around a new central courtyard. This original concept was further developed as a contemporary cloister, which was seen as an appropriate method of tying both the existing and new structures together, defining a clear circulation route through both. The original friary building has been kept intact and its back elevation used to define the open end of the courtyard establishing its shape in plan.
Externally the palette of materials was deliberately kept to a minimum. Full height panels of treated cedar wood boards, board marked in situ concrete and clear double glazing sit on a plinth of fair faced concrete the top of which extends the datum of the Church floor throughout the site. These materials sit on a simple bed of white gravel in the courtyard with the added focus of a mature olive tree set to one corner. The detailing of all external skins helps to accentuate the choice of materials, frames are recessed and the board marked concrete walls extend into both the reception and dining room areas, blurring the transition between internal and external areas. Ventilation panels to all rooms and external doors are set flush with the surrounding cedar wood cladding and when not in use both disappear from view.
All new living accommodation provides carefully framed views of the surrounding countryside and the building itself when viewed from a distance sits comfortably into the landscape carefully wrapped around the original structures.