LocationAbbey St, Ballypheasan, Roscommon, Ireland
Lead ArchitectsRyan Kennihan, Ronan Costelloe
Existing Area112 m2
Extension Area226 m2
Text description provided by the architects. 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 center 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 neighbor’, 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 various rooms within including a large meeting space whose domed ceiling and serene atmosphere allude to the religious associations of the client organization and the neighboring parish church.