New Chapter House - Ready for Action!
New Chapter House - Ready for Action!Follow @KnightsTempOrg
Our Knights Templar Order is a serious, complex and industrious organisation with an international presence. The recent years of growth and expansion of our operations meant that our previous office and dispatch premises were increasingly cramped. Hence, in 2019, the Council of Nine approved an ambitious expansion plan for the St. Donard’s Priory in the historic Irish province of Ulster.
The ramshackle group of old buildings at the rear of the property was to be transformed into a modern office and small meeting room facility. As well as being completed to very high 21st century specifications, however, it was agreed from the very start that the finished building must have an appropriately ‘Templar’ aesthetic and atmosphere. “It must look and feel the part, as well as play its part”, was the brief given to the architect.
Three years further on – despite a variety of challenges thrown up by both the site and the madness of lockdown – the restoration is complete. And the team really have done a magnificent job!
The photo here can only give a glimpse of the quality and impact of this 21st-Century-meets-the-High Middle-Ages masterpiece. The first new Templar administrative centre in Western Europe in more than seven hundred years really has to be visited to be appreciated to the full.
The building is comprised of the Upper and Lower Chapter Houses. Entered through a heavy, arched, wooden door, the wooden panelled Upper Chapter House is designed for top level meetings, training events and occasional small and intimate social events.
A fine stone fireplace forms the main focal point of this stylish and characterful room. Traditionally themed but elegant light fittings augment the natural light from the arched windows, which are edged in stunning stonework which would grace any ancient church or manor house. The references to original Templar Commanderie buildings in France and Spain are very clear, but never overstated.
Another arched door leads down to the Lower Chapter House. Since this is the main office of our new administrative hub, this has a more modern feel, with plenty of natural light pouring in from the garden side and roof-lights. It is, of course, generously equipped with power points, Ethernet cables and all the requirements for an efficient 21st century business operation. The brief has been met and this noble Order is ready for whatever work the future throws at us!