WWII trainer dome, Artikelly

WWII trainer dome, Artikelly

A conservation architect is being sought to transform a disused WWII bomber training dome into a new events space for Artikelly, County Londonderry.

The estimated £32,000 contract – tendered by Binevenagh and Coastal Lowlands Landscape Partnership Scheme – covers RIBA Stages 3-to-7 of the phased project to restore and refurbish the unique structure.

The scheme will transform the building – constructed from a thin reinforced concrete shell and originally used to test gunner accuracy – into a new multi-use community and events space for the local area. Belfast and London-based Hamilton Architects has already developed the project to RIBA Stage 2 as part of a wider initiative looking at other similar structures nearby.

According to the brief: ‘The WWII Anti-Aircraft Dome Trainer at Artikelly is one of the most unique defence heritage sites within the Binevenagh and Coastal Lowlands Landscape Partnership Scheme area.

‘Used by the Royal Air Force to train flight bombers and gunners during WWII, warfare conditions were simulated by using sound effects and projecting imagery on to the curved interior surface of the dome with trainees using a dummy gun unit to test their accuracy.

‘Approximately 43 of these dome trainers were constructed in the UK and only six survive today, with this being the only example in Northern Ireland. The building is on Northern Ireland’s Heritage at Risk Register.’

Located around 1 km northeast of Limavady, Artikelly is a small village in County Londonderry which during WWII hosted an RAF base which played an important role in training aircrews for the Battle of the Atlantic.

Two years ago Hamilton Architects was appointed by the Binevenagh and Coastal Lowlands Landscape Partnership Scheme to draw up conservation proposals for a range of structures in the area including a pillbox, Martello tower, gun battery and the trainer dome.

As the first part of the wider restoration of these structures, the trainer dome project will restore and convert the landmark building which is currently on Northern Ireland’s Heritage at Risk Register.

Bids will be evaluated 80 per cent on quality and 20 per cent on cost. The deadline for applications is midday, 23 August.

How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

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