At Royal William Yard an august collection of grade I and II listed buildings is being converted into a sustainable mixed use quarter of homes, restaurants, offices, an art gallery and a naval visitors’ centre giving the public an insight into the yard’s past.
There is a wealth of history to the site. The buildings, overlooking Plymouth Sound, were constructed in the 1800s as a factory and supply depot for ships’ victualing needs. In the 1970s, the buildings fell into decline, finally closing fully in 1992.
A series of failed redevelopment attempts culminated in the appointment of Urban Splash as developer on a scheme by the South West Regional Development Agency in 1999. The developer appointed local architect Gillespie Yunnie, which contributed much valued local and naval knowledge, and Ferguson Mann architects.
To date, the developer has completed the successful restoration of the residential building Clarence, the mixed use Brewhouse, and Mills Bakery, which comprises homes, work and restaurant space. This has provided 217 homes, including shared ownership units, and 41,284 sq ft of work and restaurant space.
The grade I listed buildings are constructed from granite and limestone, materials that presented a challenge to the development team. The buildings’ listed status meant that original features had to remain in situ and be integral to new designs. The integrity of the architecture is complemented by minimalist contemporary additions for features such as kitchens. The depth of the buildings and their original windows bays gave the developer scope to create unusual living spaces in a range of sizes that would accommodate a mix of occupiers.
Work has started on the next phase of buildings, including New Cooperage which will create an additional 20,000 sq ft of retail, leisure and office space.
Gillespie Yunnie Architects
Lower Tweed Mill
Tel: 01803 860010
Contact: Jackie Gillespie
Urban Splash Group
18-22 Worsley Street
Tel: 0161 839 2999
Contact: Shona King