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Studio Levitate’s New Oak Walkway Restores Access to 16th Century Sandsfoot Castle
Studio Levitate designed a lightweight walkway made from oak for a ruined 16th century castle in the UK. Due to coastal erosion, the Sandsfoot Castle in Dorset was designated as unsafe for visitors and has been closed since 1930s. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) commissioned the UK-based design firm to reinstate access to the castle and enable visitors to navigate its interior.
The castle was built by Henry VIII in the 16th century to protect the waters of Portland Roads against foreign invasions. Since then the structure has been damaged by erosion and most of its ashlar stone has been stolen or used for local building projects.
The renovation project was initiated by the HLF in collaboration with Weymouth & Portland Borough Council. The project had two phases-conservation of the castle’s exiting stonework and the insertion of a new lightweight walkway. It was completed in the summer of 2012 and has been included as a local attraction and venue for the Olympic events.
In order to preserve the structure’s integrity, the walkway is connected to the walls in as few places as possible. Small scale reinforcements and interventions helped conserve the castle in its found condition and soft cappings were placed on the walls to strengthen them. A timber railway is supported by two rows of balusters and allows visitors to lean and observe the gorgeous landscape and historic richness of the place.
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