Aoibhneas Children’s Centre Architectural Competition

The RIAI (Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland) is administering a competition on behalf of the competition promoters, Aoibhneas Women and Children’s Refuge This open, two-stage architectural competition is for the design of a children’s centre on the existing site of Aoibhneas Women and Children’s Refuge in Coolock, Dublin.

Every child should feel safe and secure in their own home. However, for too many children, home is a place of fear. For the women and children who seek help in refuges from domestic violence, finding a safe haven is the first step in the journey away from the long lasting effects of living with violence. The experience that children have in a refuge can have a profound effect on that journey.

Children need specialist services to address their needs. Aoibhneas Women’s and Children’s Refuge is working to ensure that children in Ireland, who experience the trauma of domestic violence, are given the support they need to deal with their experiences and to move on to the happy future that all children deserve.

Aoibhneas aims to provide a specialised, child-centred service, housed in an innovative building using cutting edge design to meet the many needs of children living in refuges and accessing refuge services. Aoibhneas believes that Irish refuges must become more than temporary safe houses and become places that truly support children through the traumas of domestic violence. Aoibhneas wants to create an environment whereby children can reclaim their trust and feelings of safety.

Architects worldwide are being asked to design a state-of-the-art children’s centre facility which will include age appropriate play areas, homework, art and therapy rooms with space for children to spend time alone and with their families.

The subject site which is triangular in shape (3,214 m²) is located within a predominantly residential area. A courtyard building of refuge accommodation units (727m²) is located on the eastern corner of the site and encloses a small play area. Competitors should assume a budget in the range of €600,000 – €800,000. The outline cost plan in the competition pack provides additional information.

Submissions for Stage 1 will be evaluated on quality and innovation in architectural design and compliance with the competition brief.


The competition is open to persons who are currently included on the RIAI Register for Architects, or who could seek registration without significant delay (e.g. without requiring further assessment). You should consult the registration requirements at to check that you have the required qualifications and documentation to seek registration without requiring further assessment by the RIAI or any other examining body.


Terri Morrissey, Chairperson, Aoibhneas Women and Children’s Refuge
Linda Smith, Manager, Aoibhneas Women and Children’s Refuge
Fergus Finlay, Chief Executive, Barnardos
Marguerite Murphy, County Architect, Fingal County Council
Ryan Kennihan, Architect, Ryan W. Kennihan Architects

Prize Fund

Each short listed competitor invited to participate in Stage 2 of the competition will be paid an honorarium of €10,000 for a valid Stage 2 submission.

Competition Programme
Stage 1

Competition Registration Opens: 18 February 2010
Withdrawal of Registration and refund of fee: 3 March 2010
Questions Deadline: 5 March 2010
Answers Circulated: 19 March 2010
Registration Deadline: 30 April 2010
Submission Deadline: 7 May 2010
Assessment: May 2010

Stage 2

Stage Two Opens: June 2010

How to Register

The Registration Form is available in the Competitions section of the RIAI website

Download and complete the registration form including payment / payment details for the €121.00 registration fee (inclusive of VAT at 21%).

Registration forms are accepted via email, fax or post.

Fax: +353 1 6610948
Post: Aoibhneas Children’s Centre Architectural Competition, RIAI, 8 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, Ireland

A registered competitor may withdraw a registration on or before Wednesday, 3 March 2010 and will be entitled to a refund of the registration fee. After that date no other refunds can be made in any circumstances whether a valid entry is submitted or not.
We accept Cash, Laser, Visa, MasterCard, Electronic Funds Transfer, Bankers Draft, Euro Cheque and Irish Cheques. Cheques/Drafts should be made payable to the RIAI.

Once a completed registration form with payment is received, a username and password will be emailed to you. The username and password will allow you to download the competition pack from the RIAI website

Stage 1 submission requirements
Competitors are required to submit one A1 size sheet of information in a horizontal format. There is no specified format for submissions but competitors are required to provide the following minimum information:
a. Plans, sections and elevations at 1:200
b. Site plan at 1:500
c. Image(s) showing the building in context

Stage One entrants are required to present conceptual proposals, incorporating the above minimum requirements, and not detailed proposals.
Each competitor shall also submit a report, which will deal with the architectural, planning functional, environmental and technical factors relevant to the scheme with an Elemental Cost Plan. The report shall not exceed four A4 pages excluding a one page cost plan.

Enquiries contact:

Karina O’Neill, Competitions Officer, RIAI, 8 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, Ireland
Email: Tel: +353 1 669 1480 Fax: +353 1 661 0948

Download Area:

Once you have registered, you will receive a username and password via email enabling you to download the Competition Pack.