KILPATRICK CORPORATE RETREAT – A campus of intellectual excellence Wexford
This project started in 2015 when well known Docklands entrepreneur and property developer Mr. Harry Crosbie asked us to create something that was of world class and has never been built before. He wanted it to be uniquely Irish and also be grounded into Kilmichael. His vision was to create a retreat where the top companies in the world could send their top people to get away from the Hustle & bustle of life and have some clear space to think & brain storm.
Located on a 12-acre site at Kilpatrick, owned by Mr Crosbie, he said the scheme “will be marketed internationally to large organisations and academic institutions, as a place of intensive work and study for decision-makers and industry leaders”. He added that there was “an ancient tradition dating back to the 6th century of holy men beginning with St Gorman – whose cross lies nearby, fallen but undamaged – going into retreat or hermitage in rude stone structures along this north Wexford coast”.
Describing it as “a modern interpretation of this life of retreat and contemplation,” Mr Crosbie said the emphasis would be on “comfort rather than luxury”. The pods would have “basic self-catering facilities and a work station”, with a separate communal dining room.
Mr Flanagan said his concept “had to inspire people to want to come to this place from all over the world”. Thus, “it had to be unique and yet it was very important to our client that the scheme had to feel Irish and seem as if it was naturally part of this place”. He said the Kilpatrick site had “uninterrupted, incredible views” of the Irish Sea to the east. So he had looked at the historical precedents for coastal architecture, such as Skellig Michael, as well as “natural coastal forms” such as birds eggs in a nest.
The arrangement of the seven three-storey pods had also been based on “the principles of music, with each of them representing a musical note”. There are 7 Pods, just as there are 7 musical notes,
If you place a stave across the cliffs you can extract music from the cliffs, these notes are backed up with harmony which are in the form of hills which give each pod privacy.
The Pods are 3 stories, so you can explore this place “On earth”, “Below the earth”, and “Above the earth”. In the lower section you sleep above the waves, on the middle section you live and on the top section you work and spill out among the stars. And their setting in the dunes would help to “isolate the pods and create a sense of privacy”.
Each pod would be accessed from its landward side by a short bridge leading to its middle level, the living level, with an en-suite bedroom beneath and a working level above, all contained within a curving timber shell held together with “glulam” beams.
“The upper level is designed to motivate the occupant, orientated towards the sky and the stars,” he explained. “This level offers a spill-out balcony with which the occupants can break out to taste and smell the sea air, and get a real sense of place.”
If the development is approved by Wexford County Council, Mr Flanagan said it would “put Wexford on the international stage as a place where world decision makers and industrial leaders would desire to come to” while also providing a unique attraction for passers-by.
What it will mean to Wexford
This vision will put Wexford on the Global map, we will get the top executives from all of the worlds leading firms coming to Wexford and while they are here, most likely for the first time Wexford will come into their radar. With Brexit many firms want to invest in Europe, in an English speaking country and this will help these large companies to put Wexford into the equation when considering where to invest.