Carton Hotel, Carton Demesne, Co Kildare (2003-2006)

This €82.5 million project comprised the res¬toration of Carton House, a former home to the Dukes of Leinster and one of the grandest Palladian mansions in Britain and Ireland, and it’s transformation into a world-class 160no. bedroom hotel and resort. The scheme is an intriguing mix of the conservation and conversion of the original house and the integration of contemporary new-build elements. From the very beginning MOLA’s architectural solution sought to maintain the integrity of the main house and looked to discretely inte¬grate the hotel into the screened pockets of land stretching eastward along the axis of the house. One of the features of the site was that it had no ‘back’ – everywhere is on view. MOLA introduced a parallel spine underground which continues for almost half a mile, and connects the main house basement to the service yard, at the far end of the avenue wall. The conservation work began in Spring of 2000 beginning with the stoneworks repair package. In tandem, the approach to the conservation of the timber sliding sash windows was one of minimum intervention, with the majority of the damaged timber being retained and repaired using a specialist resin, rather than being replaced with modern timber. The existing glass was protected and retained. Where this was not possible, salvaged or horticultural glass was used to maintain the character of the windows. The interior of the main house has been sen¬sitively converted to accommodate 18no. luxury hotel suites on the upper floors with public banqueting rooms on the ground floor and minimal interventions to the existing fabric. The old farmyard has been transformed into the new Spa and Treatment Rooms. The new-build sections of the project were bro¬ken down in scale so that the new three storey, bed¬room block is completely screened from the principal protected vistas of the main house by a bank of ancient Cedar trees. The remaining new-build elements, including a restaurant and conference facility, are located within the original building context and are con¬nected to the main house by modern glazed corridors. This approach was informed by our key design principle of minimising intervention to the pro¬tected structures and ensuring the transition from old to new is as clear and minimal as possible. The conservation and transformation of Carton House was completed May 2006. In the 15 years of considered and detailed planning and sensitive intervention it has taken to come to fruition, the design intention was at all times to be respect¬ful of the significant historical legacy and unique landscape.



Client: Consortium, including Carton Demesne Ltd
Floor Area: 19,500sqm
Value: Included within overall €82.5 million hotel project