Bawdsey Radar Transmitter Block

  • © Ian Lambert
  • © Ian Lambert
  • © Ian Lambert
  • © Ian Lambert
  • © Ian Lambert
  • © Ian Lambert
  • © Ian Lambert
  • © Ian Lambert
  • © Ian Lambert
  • © Ian Lambert
  • © Ian Lambert
  • © Ian Lambert
  • © Ian Lambert
  • © Ian Lambert

Application Type

AABC Conservation

Level of Award

Commendation

Region

Eastern

Local Authority Area

Suffolk Coastal

Information about this scheme

The Transmitter Block at Bawdsey is listed Grade II* and is one of several structures on the former RAF Bawdsey site that formed the first operational radar station in the world, playing a vital role in the defence of Britain during World War II. Completed in 1939, the brick-faced block housed electronic equipment that sent the radar signal out through four 100m tall masts, the massive concrete bases for which are still visible. The building fell into disuse in the 1970s and steady deterioration led to it being placed on the Historic England ‘Buildings at Risk Register’. The building has now been completely restored inside and out. The concrete blast walls were crumbling and had rusting reinforcement and these were carefully restored, maintaining the original board-marked finish. The roof included a thick layer of shingle as blast protection and this had to be removed so that new waterproofing could be applied before being reinstated. The sloping earth revetments were replaced on two sides but elsewhere the full height of the blast walls are left exposed.  A reinforced grass parking area was added at the entrance to the site. Accessible toilet facilities were provided by insertion of a Corten-clad pod.  Electrical services and lighting were completely renewed although original fittings have been preserved wherever possible. There was no heating in the original building and a sensitive and sustainable approach was provided by means of radiant ceiling panels heated via an air-source heat pump contained in a Corten-clad enclosure.  Inside the building a new interactive exhibition tracing the history of radar was designed and installed.

Credits

Architect

Freeland Rees Roberts Architects

Client

Bawdsey Radar Trust

Main Contractor

Elliston Steady & Hawes

Project Manager

The Cultural Engine

Quantity Surveyor

Appleyard & Trew

Structural Engineer

The Morton Partnership

Services Engineer

Roger Parker Associates

Exhibition Consultant

PLB Projects Ltd

CDMC

Appleyard & Trew

Primary Use Class

Class D1e - Museums