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Royal William Yard Staircase by Gillespie Yunnie Architects

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Stephen Lawrence Prize shortlist: Royal William Yard Staircase by Gillespie Yunnie Architects

As a practice we are very aware of how stunning our local coastline is, since we sail, surf and regularly walk the coast path. To be involved in linking two amazing and contrasting waterfront locations with a piece of bold contemporary design was always going to be right up our street.

Our stair links the western end of Plymouth’s Royal William Yard - a dead end, due to its naturally defensive nature - to the South West Coast Path above the site. We designed the stair to emulate some of the excitement and surprise of walking this National Trail.

The journey is different, depending on the direction from which you approach the stair. From the yard, it is a dark, solid mass, snug against the retaining wall, with views concealed until the last minute as you climb. From the park above, you first have to find the entrance, housed within a sunken ruin of a military store, and the view opens up before you as you descend.

Jackie Gillespie, director, Gillespie Yunnie Architects

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