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Competition: Sion Mills, Northern Ireland

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Derry City and Strabane District Council is seeking an architect to remasterplan the historic model village of Sion Mills in Northern Ireland

The multidisciplinary team chosen for the £30,000 contract will create a ‘visionary and aspirational’ strategic framework for the regeneration of the William Frederick Unsworth-designed late 19th-century settlement over the next 10 years.

Sion Mills was created to house workers of a linen mill, and features more than 40 listed buildings. The study will identify a series of phased alterations, improvements and development projects that could boost businesses, jobs, tourism, heritage and social enterprise within the village. Concept designs may also be required for three key projects identified by the masterplan.

According to the brief: ‘The masterplan will seek to take a holistic perspective of the village by identifying key issues, opportunities and potential realistic and deliverable regeneration projects.

‘The masterplan is to be visionary, it should raise aspirations and provide a mechanism for the delivery and implementation of the vision for the future development of the village with a defined framework for achieving this.’

Sion Mills is in the Mourne Valley on the A5, the main road between Derry and Omagh, and has a population of 1,900. It was originally laid out in 1835 by brothers James, John and George Herdman, who opened a flax spinning mill on the river. However, nearly all the existing buildings were designed in the 1880s and 1890s by Unsworth, an English architect who was James Herdman’s son-in-law.

The village features 200 workers cottages, a school, churches and recreational facilities for the 1,500 factory employees. The historic Herdmans Mill remains privately owned but is disused and now in a poor state of repair.

The latest project aims to promote the ‘sustainable, physical, social and economic regeneration’ of Sion Mills while respecting and enhancing its sensitive heritage. The winning team will explore ways to enhance community assets and deliver new physical infrastructure to boost economic growth.

Initiatives to transform the village’s natural and built heritage into a tourism product will also be required along with new public art and physical recreation facilities.

Once the masterplan and action plan are complete, the team may be invited to deliver an additional £25,000 contract under which three key projects will be developed up to RIBA Stage 3.

The deadline for applications is midday, 13 October.

How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

Contact details

Email: tenders@derrystrabane.com

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