Hyde Property Group, Bouygues UK Ltd
Brighton & Hove Council
Plan Projects, Sam Skinner, Charlie Holden
Plan Projects won an open competition to play a leading role in the design of the ‘Greenway,’ a linear park within the New England Quarter Development, Hyde Housing Group’s exemplar development adjacent to the Railway Station in Brighton.
Now complete, the Greenway is a continuation of the ‘North Greenway’ an existing linear park running the length of the New England railway yard to Brighton station. Plan Projects role was to shape the overall landscape solution, working in collaboration with Nick Dexter horticulture and, secondly, provide artistic direction to an innovative sculptural public seating design.
The Greenway Park provides a key piece of green infrastructure linking Brighton station and New England Quarter, a major residential development that was masterplanned by Urbed, and has been taking shape phase by phase since 2006.
Movement on this busy commuter route provides a continuous flow of people making their way to and from the station towards the town centre. The topographical context informed the design: sharp level changes and gradients meant that the site fell dramatically from the high level of the station down towards the town centre and more directly to a small urban plaza, Station Approach, situated directly below. Access from the station to the plaza is provided via a new flight of steps and glass lift which links directly to the park.
The team’s winning proposal envisaged ‘digital activation’ of the Greenway. This ‘Digital Greenway’ celebrates technology through form and materials, linking with the tech culture of both New England Quarter and the wider city.
The most dramatic expression of this activation are the sculptural seats that reference digital aesthetics, in particular pixelation and ‘bits’ of data. These forms are sited across the Greenway, giving people places to rest and gather as they walk through the park. Their ‘giants’ causeway- like’ form references the sloping topography.
The seating itself will merge with the planting, dropping away at the back, breaking up and dispersing into stepping stone formations, linking the path with the adjoining green space, and echoing Brighton Station and its departure/arrival point status.
The main challenge presented was how to manage the harsh gradients of the site. To deal with this gabion terracing was designed to structure the landform and act as a counterpoint to the changing height and falls of the land creating gentle slopes where informal activities could take place.
Immersed amongst the planting it was also anticipated the gabions would provide habitat to small invertebrates and creatures, strengthening biodiversity in the park.