Millbay, Plymouth


One of the first pieces of a wider masterplan, Cargo brings new activity into an area of the city largely dormant since World War II.

The buildings relate to the wider landscape of the city and take advantage of interesting views towards Drakes Island, the docks in Millbay and Mount Edgecombe.

On three sides of the block, three to five storeys of apartments rise above work/retail spaces. On the fourth, south-facing side there are three-and-a-half-storey town houses. At the heart of the development is a shared courtyard garden built over a sub-basement car park.

The design combines mixed uses within a clear and effective spatial framework. The buildings are striking but their scale does not overwhelm and is welcoming. Interesting materials are used to create different qualities to the elevations and there is variety within the overall arrangement. Simple detailing of finishes results in elegance. The visual impact of the courtyard – and access to it – is maximised. The apartments and houses are carefully laid out with well integrated storage.

All this has been achieved within a modest construction budget of below £1200/m2.