Gillespie Yunnie has been appointed by Urban Splash for its revamp of Plymouth’s Grade II-listed Civic Centre
The practice has previously worked with Urban Splash on its transformation of the city’s Royal William Yard which won the 2014 AJ Small Projects Sustainability Prize.
News that the Devon-based practice is set to work on the job comes as Plymouth City Council completed the sale of the 1961 building to the progressive, design-savvy developer.
Designed by Hector J W Stirling, the 15-storey post-war building was handed a Grade II-listing back in 2007, effectively saving it from demolition by the local authority which had earmarked the site for redevelopment. At the time, the listing caused controversy with the council claiming it could threaten its ambitious city-centre masterplan.
The council said it would cost around £30 million for it to restore the building and had therefore decided to move out and to sell.
Urban Splash director Nathan Cornish’ said: ‘We’re really excited to be making another commitment in Plymouth. The longer we work in the city, the more it gives us confidence that this is a place we want to be investing.
‘We’re delighted to have completed the purchase of the Civic Centre from Plymouth City Council. It’s an important listed building and we look forward to reviewing design options over the coming months.’
Council Leader Tudor Evans, added: ‘This is a really significant achievement for the Council and signals the end of an era for the authority and a lot of hard work by staff and members to find a new use for this landmark.
‘The building has played an important role in running our city for the last 50 years. We look forward to seeing it play a new role in the ongoing regeneration Plymouth, creating jobs and helping the city prosper.’
Councillor Mark Lowry, cabinet member for finance and assets, added: ‘The Civic Centre is a building that everyone has strong opinions about and I’m delighted it’s now in the hands of a company with a great track record of taking on challenging regeneration projects and creating jobs.
‘The Civic was part of the post war reconstruction and is an architecturally significant building, but needs to be handled with care. It is an important landmark and a key part of the Abercrombie Plan that connects the city with the waterfront.
‘It would cost around £30 million for the Council to restore the building – a figure we simply can’t afford to spend in this climate. This is a time of significant change for local councils and many people are now employed under new arrangements with partners which means we no longer need a building of this size.’