Roscommon Mart

Roscommon Mart was a departure point from the usual design approach. A shelter with a focus on livestock resulted in a brief to accommodate a species with very different needs from the norm.

Predominantly used as a cattle mart, this project required a space that could channel the animals through. Temple Grandin, an abattoir designer in the USA brought much to bear on this project. Cattle have dichromatic vision which means they see only two of the three primary colours we can see. As a result of this, they see the world in a different manner.

Shadows cast across an open courtyard appear as three-dimensional objects across the cow’s path and will cause the animal to balk when pressured to move forward by human hands. Bright objects in their field of vision can also stress the animal.  Any distress on market day can result in an animal being injured which affect sale value and risk damage to the animal’s health.  In design terms, this meant daylight sources into the interior were dispersed through a series of small pin-hole openings in both the roof and facades to disperse any direct light entering the building.

Another behavioural quirk of cattle is that they walk forward in a meandering line. When driven as a herd or individually, cows are reluctant to travel down a straight line and this can cause circulation issues and livestock movement from pins to the mart arena.  This informed the planning of the animal circulation routes within the building – the curved routes ensure a short travel distant to the nearest visible ‘end’ of the path which encourages cattle to move forward with more eagerness.

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