Thursday 16 August 2018

IT students turn Sligo Gaol into hotel for project

'Re-imagining The Cranmore Hotel' is the ambitious IT Sligo BA Interior Architecture and Design 2018 final year project. They were invited by volunteer group, Friends of Sligo Gaol to respond to the 200th anniversary of the opening of the iconic heritage building.

Sligo Gaol was designed to hold 200 inmates in a polygonal-shaped building, with the Governor's residence situated in the centre of the prison.

When construction began in 1814 the complex represented exemplary design and engineering. In 1879 gas was first introduced into the jail enabling the cells to be heated by hot water pipes earning the local's nickname The Cranmore Hotel. "We asked the students to build on the jail's innovation and re-imagine this remarkable heritage site as a boutique hotel and museum. The brief was to create an exciting and inspiring environment. In the judging we were looking for a unique interpretation that would illuminate Sligo jail's history," said Friends of Sligo Gaol Project Leader Deirdre Melvin.

IT students worked on the project throughout the spring. They received a historical presentation and visited Sligo Gaol on a bitterly cold day in February. Under the guidance of IT Staff; Dr. Rowan Watson, Peter Scanlon and Dr Maeliosa O'Brien and Friends of Sligo Gaol volunteer tour guides Chantal Doyle and Dan Scannell, the students recorded technical measurements that would inform their designs.

Best Heritage Award was awarded to Tay Jing Wen for her healing concept titled 'There is a rainbow after the rain' which reinstalled the historic rose gardens at the jail and created a new greenhouse style restaurant to show off the impressive Ballisodare limestone walls.

She converted ground floor cells into luxury seaweed spa treatment rooms. In Tay Jing Wen's design cells were converted into guest bedrooms in muted colours to support the theme of quiet and relaxation.

The overall winner Choy Jun Shan created a design befitting of this historic building of National significance and took great care to enhance the protected structure in the ownership of Sligo County Council. By employing an innovative and elegant raison roof structure, his design flooded communal areas with light. Choy Jun Shan's design created a harmonious juxtaposition of new and old. Often with luxury finishes next to original features like the gas lights and cell door numbers. In his design the vaulted roofs took centre stage in the guest bedrooms. Throughout the design original features were augmented by creative lighting and exquisite finishes.

Commenting on the students work Tamlyn McHugh, Chair of Friends of Sligo Gaol said: "We were absolutely blown away by the work on display and are delighted that the public will get to view the designs at our upcoming Bicentenary Weekend celebrations in September."

Sligo Champion