taking our culture forward

New creative shelter celebrates Biosphere

Wed, 31 May 2023

The Conrhenny Shelter - Kemmyrk Choan Rhennee
The Conrhenny Shelter - Kemmyrk Choan Rhennee

‘Working together for a sustainable future’ is the message of UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man, so what better than a collaborative project to create something that everyone can enjoy!

The Conrhenny Shelter - Kemmyrk Choan Rhennee – can be found within Conrhenny Community Woodland, and provides a space to connect with the biodiversity all around us whilst celebrating the value of arts and culture within the natural environment.

The shelter started with an invitation in 2019 to celebrate arts and culture as fundamental to our wellbeing and sense of place within our Biosphere. The stunning winning design, chosen by a panel of judges, comes from architects Betty Laurincova and Michal Kotvan, and boasts spectacular views out over Douglas.

Betty Laurincova, said: “The environment was in focus during the design and construction phase. We used locally and sustainably sourced timber cut to exact measurements by DEFA’s St. Johns Sawmill, and ground screws to preserve the existing terrain as much as possible. Pioneer Carpentry and Construction did an outstanding job putting together the puzzle pieces of this unique structure.” 

The open-front design of the shelter echoes the forest that surrounds it, providing the perfect place to pause and contemplate your surroundings. Conrhenny is popular not only with visitors including walkers and cyclists, but with families, too, so the design incorporates a viewing platform and a bench to sit on, and a game for younger visitors to play. Search for the North Star on the dome, and for five wooden creatures and their houses hidden in the forest around! The wonderful animal and star sculptures have been made by Henry Neville Wood.

A short film interview with Betty Laurincova made by Brook Wassall for Culture Vannin has been released to coincide with the announcement.

The Conrhenny Shelter was developed as part of the National Development Strategy for Culture and the Arts, with Culture Vannin, Isle of Man Arts Council and the Department for Environment, Food and Agriculture working together.


Joint media release from Culture Vannin, IOM Arts Council and DEFA