Renamed Hampton House, the former Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation has been recently redeveloped as a large residential complex and nursing home, whose refined residences are attracting wealthy north Dubliners. Surrounded by a three-metre-high wall, the ecclesiastical-themed residential scheme off Drumcondra's Grace Park Road enjoys now up-lit church buildings as its centrepiece.
The Carmelite order took up residence in the Monastery of the Incarnation in 1858, just a few years after the Famine, and used to run a boarding school to help finance the poor school later on closed after an outbreak of scarlet fever. By 2010, the number of nuns at Hampton had dropped to five, so the monastery was bound to closure. Having lived their lives of prayer in silence and community for the past 175 years, the Carmelite sisters responded to the combination of market forces and their order’s own financial needs with the off-market sale of their convent in the village.
One of the sale conditions of the site was the restoration of the chapel designed by the architect Edward Welby Pugin, author of over 100 Catholic churches across Ireland and the UK. Being a "listed building”, Hampton Church could not be knocked down, but was deconsecrated and deprived of all its religious objects before being refurbished and taking centre stage of the site redevelopment
Hampton Church, Dublin - Ireland
Import, distribution, and Light design
Enlighten, Fantasy Lights Group
A heritage architect worked on restoring the convent itself, which is now used as a 10-bed co-living space with communal facilities, a nursing home as well as an additional block of houses and apartments. In all, there are 54 houses and some 60 apartments in the block. Fitted with private gardens, the 54 houses on the site enjoy a minimal, contemporary design, with plenty of natural light and romantic views over two acres of open space, towards the up-lit chapel and listed buildings.
All of the new residential development has been designed around the existing convent, church and walled garden, restored and enhanced saving their typical features. The surrounding green area is now open to the public and has been landscaped with plaza areas, playgrounds, while retaining existing trees.
Enlighten, a Fantasy Lights Group company providing professional LED lighting solutions in Ireland, was charged with the conservative lighting of Hampton Church. The illumination of the church was considered indispensable to complete the restoration and renovation work of the area. Some units of Micro-Dune MK2 in 3000K warm white light with elliptical wide optics were embedded in the pavement surrounding the beautiful church. In spite of their reduced size, the delivered output is really impressive, the wall grazing effects allowed by their elliptical wide optics cover a wide surface leaving space to a revealing design. The texture of the ancient walls is perfectly enhanced by the warm tone of white, and the church shines with a respectful and awe-inspiring allure.
Although the lighting of the site is very simple and obtained through a little quantity of in-ground up-lighters, the final result is emotionally appealing and perfectly reflects the spirit of this urban requalification aimed at preserving the timeless identity of the site.
9x AL5244WLWW Micro-Dune MK2 with elliptical wide optics
Location: Hampton Church, Dublin, Ireland
Lighting design: Enlighten, Fantasy Lights Group
Client: Grelis Ltd
Installation : Al Read Electrical
Pictures: Con O’Donoghue
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