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Gillespie Yunnie transforms naval base into studios

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Gillespie Yunnie has transformed a former naval base in Plymouth into a series of artist’s studios

The £4.2 million scheme, which opened to the public last week, includes a 1,900m² gallery, 30 individual artist’s studios, an open-plan workspace for more than 40 artists, and education spaces.

The individual studios are located in pods within the old warehouse’s first floor space, while the larger open plan studios are placed beneath two large rooflights which provide natural light to the space below.

Originally the building had colonnades around all sides of its courtyard but most of this was bricked up during the second world war. The brick areas were used to house the workshops while glass was installed in the remaining open colonnade providing a gallery space and main entrance.  

Simple materials including OSB and Birch Ply have been used throughout the scheme to contrast the existing stone walls.

The studio space has been set up as a community interest company with the aim of providing facilities for 100 artists with the Royal William Yard development.

It forms part of Urban Splash’s redevelopment of Royal William Yard, which also includes Gillespie Yunnie’s AJ Small Projects Sustainability Prize-winning staircase.

Royal William Yard was originally constructed between 1825 and 1831 and includes the largest collection of grade I-listed military buildings in the UK.  

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