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    Aras na hOidhreachta

    Project Details

    Location  Kilkenny City
    Sector  Heritage
    Value  €6.5M
    Surface  1200 m2
    Year Completed  2008
    Client Heritage Council of Ireland

    Consultants

    Architect  John Cahill, OPW
    Engineers  OPW
    Quantity Surveyors  OPW

    Project Summary

    Dating back to the 14th century, the former Bishop’s Palace, in the gardens of St. Canice’s Cathedral is a significant historic building and an important part of the fabric of Kilkenny’s rich heritage, and undertaking the refurbishment of this protected structure was no small task. When we were asked to undertake the project to sensitively restore and extend the building to accommodate the new headquarters for the Heritage Council of Ireland, along with a well established bat colony, we happily rose to the challenge.

    Our team of skilled craftsmen and master builders fitted in perfectly with a team of archaeologists, wildlife and plant experts and timber and paint consultants. The entire building was restored and upgraded, with particular attention paid to historic joinery and delicate plaster work. A new lift was sensitively installed and a new glass pavilion constructed to house the canteen. During the excavation and build, ancient archaeological finds were preserved and protected in situ.

    The project was shortlisted in the RIAI Irish Architecture Awards 2009 and was Highly Commended in the Conservation Category

    Special Features

    • New stainless steel & glass pavilion annex linked to the main house. This was built over existing archaeology in a manner that preserves the existing.
    • Entire roof stripped back, insulated re-felted, battoned and slated with salvaged and new slate.
    • To avoid a disturbance to the existing bat population, Bat Zones were constructed in the roofspace to house returning bats each spring.
    • Structural steel was introduced to add support to floors throughout, particularly to stairs and landing areas.
    • A passenger lift was installed within a newly formed lift shaft to access all floors.
    • A new steel fire escape spiral stairs was added to the gable of the building allowing safe egress from each floor.
    • A new services building was constructed separate from the main building with services routes excavated under archaeological supervision.

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