Aoibhneas Children’s Centre Architectural Competition

Aoibhneas and the RIAI (Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland) are delighted to launch the architectural competition for the design of a children’s centre on the existing site of Aoibhneas Women and Children’s Refuge in Coolock, Dublin.

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.

Speaking at the launch of the competition in Dublin today, Chairperson of Aoibhneas, Terri Morrissey said: “Aoibhneas has for a long time had the vision of working more closely with children affected by violence in their home, the one place where they should feel the most secure. Unfortunately many have to leave their homes to seek refuge in our centre in Coolock. We believe that this experience should be one that helps them to cope with this trauma and which equips them to deal with the emotional and psychological effects of such trauma on them.

She went on to say: “We are proud to launch this competition which will provide us with a special and unique facility in Ireland. We hope we can stimulate excellence in our service to children through this worldwide competition. We are excited about this process and eagerly await the receipt of creative designs from the architectural community.”

Paul Keogh, President of the RIAI welcomed the launch of the competition, “The RIAI is pleased to be working with Aoibhneas on such a unique and important project. We are looking forward to seeing architects using their empathy, innovation and design skills to create the appropriate environment for this important facility for children affected by violence in the home.”

Once a competitor registers to take part in the competition, they have until 7 May to submit their entries. Each entry will consist of one A1 size sheet of information. Competitors who are shortlisted in June and invited to make further submissions will be paid an honorarium of €10,000. The winners of the competition will be announced in September.

Further information on the competition is available on the RIAI website:
For more information on Aoibhneas Women and Children’s Refuge: