Hotel Europa Spa & Leisure Building, Irish Project, Kerry Design, Killarney Accommodation

Hotel Europa Spa, Killarney : Kerry Architecture

Hotel Europa Development – design by Gottstein Architects in Ireland

22 Jun 2009

Hotel Europa Spa Kerry

Spa & Leisure Building, Hotel Europa

Location: near Killarney town, County Kerry
Date built: 2008
Design: Gottstein Architects

Photos: Paul Tierney

Hotel Europa Spa Hotel Europa Spa Kerry Hotel Europa Spa Hotel Europa Spa County Kerry

Architect’s Comments

The Hotel Europe is located just outside Killarney town in Co Kerry within an area of Prime Special Amenity. The site is on an inclined landscape overlooking “Loch Lein”, the largest of the Killarney lakes with the Mc Guillycuddy Reeks mountain range forming the backdrop to the view. The nearby Black Valley and Gap of Dunloe, where huge glacial boulders emerge from the hills, define the local landscape. Originally built in 1962, the hotel has been substantially extended over the decades in and is now configured as a south-facing “U”-shaped building orientated towards the lake.

County Kerry Hotel Europa Spa County Kerry Hotel Spa County Kerry Hotel County Kerry Spa

The Client’s brief was to integrate some 4,500sqm of Spa and Leisure accommodation into the site whilst maintaining the view and connection to the lake enjoyed by the existing hotel facilities and bedrooms.

As the hotel is located within a Prime Special Amenity Area, much consideration was given to how to minimize the visual impact of the new building on the site. The approach was to carve the building out of the hill, creating a series of stone ‘boulders’ that emerge from the landscape and stretch towards the foreshore of the lake, echoing the surrounding geological forms and imagery of the glaciated valleys. As the grass-covered volumes emerge from the garden a series of indoor and sheltered outdoor spaces are created which are viewed as ‘rooms’ within the garden.

County Kerry Hotel Spa County Kerry Hotel Spa County Kerry Hotel Spa County Kerry Hotel Spa

Inside, the spa is experienced as a sanctuary within the hill. The largely subterranean environment is expressed as a contrast of dark and light, density and void. Internal courtyard gardens are ‘scooped’ out of the plan – bringing natural daylight deep into the building whilst allowing places for private contemplation.

Within the ‘garden rooms’ the threshold between interior and exterior is blurred as dark stone slabs wrap around from the outside, through the frameless glazing, and into the room to line the floor and walls, reinforcing the feeling that the space has been hollowed from the landscape. These rooms accommodate the pool hall, relaxation rooms and thermal suites, which are all designed to overlook the lake and engage with the setting.

Hotel Europa Spa Hotel Europa Spa Hotel Europa Spa Hotel Europa Spa

Hotel Europa Killarney – Building Information

Location: near Killarney, County Kerry
Area: 4,500m2
Design to completion: 2005-08
Contract Value: €40 million

Hotel Europa Spa & Leisure Building images / information from Gottstein Architects


Location: Killarney, Northern Ireland

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