By breathing new life into Scots Church and its adjacent church hall, MDO allowed VHI Healthcare to expand their operations while retaining the sense of place they had developed through their long history on Abbey Street.
The key concept and challenges of the dynamic design were to respect and preserve the significant cultural, religious, historical and architectural heritage of the church and its ancillary buildings whilst meeting the client’s requirements for a new innovative and sustainable office extension. This extension would need to fully integrate with their existing office accommodation, allowing the company to provide improved and sustainable facilities. As a commitment to inner-city renewal in this area the church and church hall were completely refurbished and returned to full usage.
The new design positions the office as a public entrance foyer in the existing church making it the primary public zone and entrance foyer for the building. It also provides new office floors suspended above the existing original church hall, all contained within a contemporary triangular exo-skeleton lattice design which provides the external structure, creating a building which is light and transparent and contrasts with and compliments the original Gothic church design.
The scheme is a celebration of contrasts: old and new, solid and transparent, heaviness and lightness. The outside and inside are interwoven, as is a blend of structures, sometimes integrated, sometimes purely expressed. The result is a dynamic though respectful collage, blended and reflected through glazed, polished, and stainless surfaces.
The Client has been provided with a truly dynamic, yet highly functional, transformative building which has already in its short time of operation established itself as the heart of their campus and their corporate identity.