THE SAVOY | a contemporary extension

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The existing Savoy Hotel, a 5 star hotel over 9 stories, comprises 94 bedrooms with ground floor reception and bar, first floor restaurant and third floor meeting and conference facilities.

Our Clients brief was to increase the current hotel bedroom numbers by 35 extending the existing hotel offering from 94 to 129 bedrooms with the introduction of larger bedrooms, interconnecting bedrooms, bedroom suites and a new modern hotel experience.

It is intended that the mill building, in its entirety, will be taken in charge by the hotel operators. A new hotel entrance from Shannon Street will be introduced to allow guests to enter the hotel from either the main entrance on Henry St. or the proposed Shannon Street entrance.

A new hotel café/bar is proposed at the north-western end of the mill occupying a prime corner location within the building footprint – frontage to both Henry Street & Shannon Street.

The brief also includes ground floor café/restaurant use for both hotel patrons and the public. It is intended that this café/restaurant will accommodate a breakfast facility for those guests staying in rooms located in the mill building. An entrance to the café/restaurant will be maintained on Shannon Street.

An additional cafe/restaurant is proposed with independent access from Shannon Street.

New wc’s are proposed at first floor level in the mill with access via the proposed new lift and stair core. These WC’s will service the existing Savoy bar and new café/restaurant/bar.

A first floor retail unit, under the ownership of the hotel, is proposed in the mill building with access from ground floor level.

Night-time view of the proposed Mill extension from corner of Henry St. & Shannon St. (above)

The proposal, vertically extending the mill, will provide a unique hotel experience - lower level rooms offering a glimpse into the historical past entering rooms through the old stone wall of the mill; upper rooms offering a contemporary experience with rooms providing panoramic views of the cityscape across to the Shannon river.


entablature noun the upper part of a classical building supported by columns or a colonnade, comprising the architrave, frieze, and cornice.

The concept for the design proposal was the creation of a modern entablature. Put simply an architectural entablature is the horizontal assembly of bands located above columns of buildings. Classically this comprises the architrave, the frieze, and the cornice.

Critical to the design success is the expression of the Mill as the dominant element or ‘the building’ above which the extension or ‘the entablature’ sits. The scale and composition of the mill extension or the ‘entablature’ was guided by brief therefore the architectural realisation was key.

The concept is a contemporary lightweight roof box clearly distinct from its solid stone base. The extension sits within the existing walls of the mill, self-supported, with vertical fins projecting from just above the parapet of the existing stone walls.

“As an Architect you design for the present, with an awareness of the past, for a future which is essentially unknown.”

– Norman Foster -

The existing and proposed view of the Mill from corner of Henry St. & Shannon St. (above)


The proposal aims to identify the new from the old in both form and finish.

The solid grey limestone walls of the mill are 600mm wide with brick arched window opes – the majority of which are original with some new interventions made during the 1995 renovation works. The proposed vertical intervention is to be of simple construction and dual material - glass and metal - in contrast to the existing.

A lightweight metal roof box is proposed to sit just above the main walls of the stone mill with its supporting steel structure rising from inside the existing walls. An inner wall of glazing sits 400mm back from the existing external stone face with 400mm deep narrow metal fins rising vertically to the new roof top level.

We carried out an interesting exercise on colour to assess the impact of the extension on the existing Mill.

On review of the corten steel, red and gold finishes it was deemed that a bold colour statement, in stark contrast to the grey stone, would detract from the mill making the new extension the feature and not the addition.

We studied an extensive range of greys from bright silver grey through to anthracite greys and black. While the proposed extension is undoubtedly a bold architectural statement opposite ends of the grey spectrum detracted from the mill therefore a mid-grey was

selected for the metal cladding and vertical fins of the roof-box.

In-house office crit

The narrow vertical gable ends of the roof-box will be, primarily, solid – a contemporary extrusion of of the solid gable ends of the mill. The glazed inner wall of the Shannon Street façade will turn the corner to Henry St. to allow panoramic cityscape views over the rooftops to the Shannon and beyond.

The proposed new glazing is recessed 400mm from the external wall line. The main Shannon Street is south / south-west facing and it is proposed that the vertical fins will act as a shading device for the hotel bedrooms. Full height doors will allow for natural ventilation of upper level rooms. Traditional balconies are not proposed; a plate glass balconette will sit in front of each door opening at the inner wall line offering guests the opportunity for natural ventilation of rooms.

An old photo of Henry Street, above, taken circa 1995 shows a series of mill building that once stood. In the foreground, the mill at the corner of Henry St. & Lower Cecil Street, collapsed in 2003 and was replaced with a contemporary piece of city architecture. The composition of the building relates to that of the original corn store with its narrow footprint and elevation treatment.

Vertically extending stone warehouse buildings is not prevalent in Ireland however this concept is widely seen throughout Europe and worldwide.

In developing our design we studied examples of both historic and modern building compositions with roof extensions and these studies were central to the rationalisation of the final proposal.

Precedent projects from around the world (above)


An architecture of its time, distinct from the 18th century architecture of its grounding structure. Urban in its expression, the proposal is a positive addition to the city by both day and night.

An elegant vertical metal structure with narrow fins, tentatively stretching from stone parapet to metal rooftop, it will reflect the sunlight as it travels throughout the day and emit a soft glow from the pattern of hotel bedrooms as it becomes a lantern in the city by night.

The proposal is a strong architectural statement yet its execution is to be understated in its form and materiality.

This proposal will create a greater 5 star hotel offering in a growing, developing city with unique rooms in both a historic and a contemporary structure.

Night-time view from Clancy Strand with the proposed extension seen middle-background

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