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RIBA South West Awards 2016

Motorway services and a recycling centre break the mould. Jackie Gillespie gives a view of the South West from Dartmoor. Click on the images to find out more

Jackie Gillespie: I am sitting in the sun in Bath at Milsom Place, an earlier development by L&R Group with whom we are converting and extending an old warehouse in Ladybellegate Quay in Gloucester. It is just the sort of contemporary work in a historic setting that the South West has given us a great opportunity to develop. In a way it grows out of our home, at Dartington Estate, near Totnes, Devon. It is a medieval hall with a progressive slant. Walter Gropius fled here in the 1930s and creative people still flourish in a remarkable landscape. 

Our studio is in an old water mill. We have great neighbours such as The Almond Thief, a cool, quirky bakery – we revel in the extraordinary local food. We’ve converted a barn into a café and shop for Nkuku, another neighbour. You can draw on the locale in all sorts of ways: we’ve just had a CPD session from Solid Wool on objects made of wool and resin. 

From our studio we can reach into the prehistoric depths of Dartmoor and more conventionally-religious sites on the edge, such as our work for the monks of Buckfast Abbey. We have the valleyed delights of the South Hams and are building along the River Yealm. Plymouth is on our doorstep too and here we have had 15-year relationship with Urban Splash, developing the historic naval space of Royal William Yard with restaurants, arts spaces and now a hotel. It gives us an amazing backdrop of stone, concrete and timber elements. Not many of these projects, or clients, come along; it is quite a privilege. The city’s brutalist fifties civic centre is also within our sights. With Urban Splash we are reimagining it housing different uses. 

We have an eclectic mix of clients across the region and have speculated on how amazing it would be if we brought them all together, perhaps at one of the Cinema in the City films at the Yard that we sponsor. There is some bread and butter work but on the whole every project is different. You can’t specialise here, there just isn’t the volume of work. 


Jackie Gillespie is founding director of Gillespie Yunnie

Ansty Plum, Wiltshire
Ansty Plum, Wiltshire · Credit: Katie Lock
Blackrock Quarry Training Centre
Blackrock Quarry Training Centre · Credit: Simon Kennedy
Bridport Household Recycling Centre, Bridport
Bridport Household Recycling Centre, Bridport · Credit: Peter Cook
Drawing Studio, Poole
Drawing Studio, Poole · Credit: Richard Bryant
Gloucester Services, Gloucester
Gloucester Services, Gloucester · Credit: Paul Miller
Outhouse, Brockweir
Outhouse, Brockweir · Credit: Charles Hosea
Plymouth School of Creative Arts, Plymouth
Plymouth School of Creative Arts, Plymouth · Credit: Hufton & Crow
Sand Dunes, Newquay
Sand Dunes, Newquay · Credit: Mark Ashbee
Student Services Building, Arts University Bournemouth, Poole
Student Services Building, Arts University Bournemouth, Poole · Credit: Nick Kane
The Owers House, Feock
The Owers House, Feock · Credit: James Morris