The building is an extension and renovation of a detached townhouse on Abbey Street in Roscommon town. It provides counseling rooms and a large meeting hall for the holistic counseling centre called Vita House and the broader community.
The site is highly sensitive as it overlooks the town’s primary church, the Sacred Heart Cathedral, while the existing building is part of an architectural conservation area. The design arises from the client’s desire to create a peaceful welcoming place which can be a central part of community life. The design therefore seeks to be a ‘good neighbour’, inspired in part by the simple pitched roofs and rectangular windows on the road as well as by 18th century buildings like the City Assembly House in Dublin which contain a variety of unexpected spaces behind modest exteriors. The reserved exterior allows the church to continue to dominate the surroundings and relies on subtle tectonic details and asymmetries for richness. The simple volume belies the variety rooms within including a large meeting space whose domed ceiling and serene atmosphere allude to the religious associations of the client organization and the neighbouring parish church.
Winner of a 2014 Architectural Association of Ireland Award.