Beyond Public Space: Design-Make Pavilion_2019

2019_studio’s programme developed in response to an invitation to participate in an AHRC research funded project for the studio to design and fabricate a mobile pavilion sited in Brighton’s Valley Gardens.

Working in and around Valley Gardens, Brighton’s most significant public open space, we are maintaining the studio trajectory and lines of enquiry from previous years’ work in Pool Valley and Rottingdean. Details on the these and other studio programmes from previous years can be found here.

We continue with our investigation in the urban context, exploring issues relating to the design and use of public space. We respond to Bernard Tschumi’s sentiment in his seminal publication, The Manhattan Transcripts (1976-81) that “architecture is not simply about space and form, but also about event, action, and what happens in space.”

Cities for People (2010), Jan Gehl.

Despite an evocative name, Valley Gardens is currently a diminished space located in the heart of the city, serving as little more than a chain of municipal traffic islands connecting the A23 corridor past the Royal Pavilion to Brighton’s seafront. Running approximately north-south through the centre of Brighton, Valley Gardens may be one of the last remaining stretches of what was once the ‘common land’ over which the city was built.

Aerial View of Valley Gardens and its surroundings, Brighton c 2012.

Its significance as ‘communal land’ through history means that Brighton’s green mile has supported a multitude of uses relating to its former attributes both as undeveloped marshy commons and gentrified promenade.

The Annual Fair on The Level by W.A Delamotte c.1853, British Library Collection

As a starting point, students develop an understanding of place through investigatory drawings which reveal distinct local conditions of a chosen part of the site and lead to the design of a portable instrument which interfaces between its user and the landscape.

Pavilion projection on the Steine, Alex Zambelli. 2019.

Building on these investigations, the conclusion to term 1 is a spatial proposition for a temporary ‘commons’ room, as a competition entry for the live-build project in support of the Wastes and Strays research project into urban commons.

There is more detail on the purpose of this project documented here.


HEADS, Overviewing harbour of Rotterdam, Rob Sweere. 2011.

Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined, Royal Academy of Arts Francis Kere Architects. 2014

Working into the major design project in terms 2 and 3, studio 06 will respond to Brighton and Hove City Council’s £18M regeneration project currently underway for the ‘green mile’, exploring ways in which infrastructural changes can provide a catalyst for re-imagining the design of public realm architecture in sensitive locations. Students will expand their thinking to engage with wider concerns in relation to the nature and extent of the contemporary commons and its potential to exist as an expanded arena of community, operating beyond traditional, physical boundaries.

Alex Freeman: Self-build Housing in Lewes’ Phoenix Quarter, studio 06 2014.

key themes:
body and landscape; connective architecture; time-sensitive architectures; contemporary commons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *