Allihies lend its identity by its miner villagers, its mining buildings with its distinctive chimneys and its recognizable landscape. The copper mines of Allihies with its last remaining historical elements such as the machine building, are still crucial to the identity of Allihies. But where the recognizable mining elements played a big role in the identity of the village in the past, some intervention needs to happen to restore the historical value of the place today and to ensure the future of Allihies.
‘Kealodges’ is a collection of small lodges which together restore the recognizable historical view by recreating the distinctive silhouette of small mining buildings with a slight pitched roof and its chimneys. The scale, shape and form of the lodges refer to the current remaining historical mining buildings such as the machine building, Dooneen, Coom mine, Camhines mine and Kealoge. The current machine building will be respected as the most present building in the restored silhouette.
All new buildings are placed in a scattered set-up to ensure the historical non-structured silhouette. This set-up also ensures the privacy between buildings to create a meditative atmosphere for the lodges in the landscape. In total 10 large, 5 normal and 5 small lodges are placed between the machine building and the lake. These lodges will be accompanied by a restaurant/lobby at the beginning and a spa/fitness at the end of a connecting walkway.
A big part of the identity of Allihies lies in the relationship between the landscape and the miners. Miners living in the village would walk up the mountain to gather at the machine house. Here they would be transported by an elevator to the in the rock located mine. The experience of the miners will be regenerated by the ‘Kealodges’ in the following way. The current museum building will be used as a reception where visitors check in and will leave their car. From the village they will walk, via the walkway, up to the lobby next to the machine house. This collective space will be the transition to the next phase in which the visitors will transport themselves to their lodge. The lodge has three different spaces; the top part which is designed for relaxation, the open middle part which is designed for inhaling the surroundings and is connected to the outside space and the lower part which is an underground space designed for resting and refers to the mine. The spa/fitness is just as the lower part from the lodges located underground to recreate the experience of the miners of Allihies descending and living inside the mountain.
The architectural appearance of the buildings refer to the existing miner buildings to respect, restore and strengthen the historical identity. The window openings inside the top part of the lodges refer to the facade of the machine house. Openings are made by not-centrally placed lintels and the openings themselves are placed randomly. The middle part is the entrance from which all spaces are reached. This will be done by a spiral staircase which treats the visitors with a 360 view of the surroundings. A curtain making able to close off the middle part completely, contributes to the meditative appearance of the space. The lower part is partially carved out of the rock to ensure the experience of being inside the mountain. A concrete ‘hat’ will be placed above the carved out space to generate an outside platform.
All three elements are made of concrete and white steel to not distract the visitor during their experience of the landscape and its miner buildings. It also combines well with the current drystone walls of the landscape and stone facades of the buildings and creates a balance in materials. The three elements will be prefabricated to prevent any nuisance and damage to the current landscape and the village Allihies.
‘Kealodges’ is an intervention to restore the historical identity of Allihies and the ensure its future. It will regenerate its recognizable silhouette of mining buildings and chimneys by placing meditative spaces for people who want to escape the urban environment and enjoy the beauty of Allihies. It not only strengthens the presence of the current village but it will mostly show respect to the miners which created the identity of this place.