Providence Place Gardens, Brighton

Luis Trevino Architects, Brighton, 2012


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North Views from Providence Place 

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  • North Views from Providence Place    
  • North Church View    
  • Terracing    
  • North View    
  • Church North View    
  • South Corner Providence Place Gardens    
  • East Corner Terracing    
  • East Side    
  • East View    
  • East View Terracing    
  • South Corner    
  • North Facing Art Wall    
  • Terracing & Art Wall    
  • West Corner    
  • West Corner Terracing    
  • Floor plan    
  • Render    
  • Work in Progress    
  • North View Work in Progress    
  • Work in Progress Providence Place    
  • Terracing detail    

Transforming Providence Place Gardens, Brighton into a lively, safe and successful public space

This pilot urban regeneration project transformed an under-preforming public space into a safe, lively and successful public space. Combined with a series of environmental changes, such as the removal of the fencing from the green’s edge, will allow for a much freer use of the space, permitting people to cross the area by installing temporary steps (terracing system) from the green space to Providence Place, closing vehicular access to Providence Place, installing fixed seating in strategic locations, removing car parking spaces, placing an artificial lawn on Ann Street between Providence Place and London Road, creating an art wall on the south-east side of the Gardens as a back drop to this terracing system. All this allowed the community to take ownership of this square and in tandem with organised activities successfully transform this under used space into a lively, safe and successful space.

The reasons for the relative under-performance of Providence Place Gardens are multifaceted. The response required should therefore be holistic. Our approach has been to match environmental change with social and economic regeneration. In searching for ways to improve the site, we have tuned into resident’s concerns, identified local resources and locational strengths and sought to understand the ‘macro’ trends that are moulding Brighton as a city.

After the first two weeks in October 2012 of activity in Providence Place Gardens Plan Project’s Common Room project came to an end.

The ‘Common Room’ project trialled various ideas for how to improve the public realm and the streets adjacent to it through a combination of environmental changes and cultural activities.

The approach of the practice was to pick up on the natural rhythms of life in the city to create an attractive, functional place. At times calm and tranquil, at others alive with movement and activity, ‘Common Room’ sought to prompt social interaction, play and work related activity, facilitating the ‘social’ and ‘optional’ uses so important for public spaces to thrive.

At its conclusion, ‘Common Room’ can be seen as a pioneering attempt to restore life to an over-engineered complex of streets, pavements and open spaces by using a variety of tools. Amid the hard work of delivering the project, staff gathered strong anecdotal evidence of the community warming to the space and starting to take ownership of different elements of the project, be it the street food, the digital infrastructure or play activities.

During the pilot, the local authority used observational and interviewing techniques to carry out an evaluation. The evidence complied in this way will be used to formulate an approach to the permanent re-design of the project area.


  • Begun: Sep 2012
  • Completed: Oct 2012
  • Floor area: 1,500m2
  • Sector: Public realm
  • Total cost: £50,000
  • Funding: INTERREG IVB Lively Cities
  • Tender date: May 2012
  • Procurement: Non-standard bespoke form of contract
  • Address: Providence Place Gardens, East Susex, Brighton, BN1 4GP, United Kingdom

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