mccullough mulvin architects completes the museum renovation of st mary’s hall, formerly st mary’s church, in kilkenny, ireland. founded in the thirteenth century as the parish church of the city, then used as a parish and masonic hall since the mid-20th century, it was purchased by kilkenny borough council in 2010 with assistance from kilkenny county council and the department of environment, heritage and local government. the cruciform 13th century stone structure, with a later tower at its western end, sits in a substantial walled graveyard that had recently been opened to the public as a garden and contains many important tombs and monuments from the middle ages to the 20th century.

mccullough mulvin architects church
all images by christian richters

 

 

in the renovation project, mccullough mulvin architects repurposed the church as a museum, retaining some of the 20th century interventions, while honoring its medieval spatial complexity. throughout its long history, the church interior had acquired a spatial richness through many additions and minor demolitions. as elements had been shorn off, aisles removed, the chancel demolished, the structure had expanded and contracted in a violent cycle. as found, the interior was divided into separate rooms and levels during its past conversion to a parish hall.

mccullough mulvin architects church

 

 

by re-constructing the north aisle and chancel to the original plan but a different internal section and materiality using the base of the original walls in an non-interventive way. the chancel room overlooks the town, re-establishing its dominant form in the urban landscape. the space beneath it becomes a tomb-filled undercroft. both of the new gabled elements are finished in lead, with rooflights directed to levels of archaeology below.

mccullough mulvin architects church mccullough mulvin architects church mccullough mulvin architects church mccullough mulvin architects church mccullough mulvin architects church mccullough mulvin architects church mccullough mulvin architects church mccullough mulvin architects church

 

 

project info:

 

project name: medieval mile museum

architecture firm: mccullough mulvin architects

location: kilkenny, ireland

photography: christian richters