Rosleven Telephone Exchange


Noel Dowley


Rosleven Telephone Exchange (1976-80) was one of two such buildings the architect Noel Dowley designed for the Department of Posts and Telegraphs. Located on a suburban site in Athlone – a town at the centre of the island – Rosleven was Ireland’s first digital exchange. Dowley reconciled the requirements of this new technology with the needs of the staff working there through what he described as an ‘architecture of modest means’. Designed for both security and expansion, the building’s reinforced concrete structure is enveloped by concrete cavity block walls with few openings. Roof lights illuminate the central circulation space and other staff areas. In the manual switch-room, the architect designed deep porthole windows to cut glare for the telephone operators while allowing them a visual connection to the outside. These portholes were made from standard concrete storm-water pipes.


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