New Road, Brighton

New Road, Brighton

Brighton and Hove is moving towards a more pedestrian-friendly approach in the public realm, This project grew from the aspiration of politicians and theatre directors to maximise New Road’s potential as a cultural quarter. Landscape Projects worked with Brighton and Hove City Council on the development of a Legibility Strategy, examining the pedestrian and visitor experience of the borough, and, in collaboration with Gehl Architects from Copenhagen, made recommendations for transformations to the public realm.


New Road sits at the heart of the cultural quarter, linking the Royal Pavilion gardens to the new library. The street needed to accommodate civic activities as well as the more informal uses associated with theatres, cafes and restaurants. Through a collaborative design process, Landscape Projects, Gehl Architects and the City Council reimagined the street as a natural stone surface. Since its opening, the street has become well-used as a centerpiece of Brighton’s Cultural Quarter and is one of the most popular visitor attractions in the city.

Location Brighton
Lead landscape architect Landscape Projects
Outline brief Redesign of a street at the heart of Brighton’s cultural quarter, linking routes to key visitor attractions with civic activities and informal uses.
Client Brighton & Hove City Council
Project team Architect: Gehl Architects
Engineer: Martin Stockley Associates, Brighton & Hove City Council
Contract administration: Brighton & Hove City Council
Planning authority Brighton & Hove City Council
Awards Winner 2008 LI Awards Design under 1ha

Technical summary

Materials As the street was to remain fully open to all types of traffic, the design of the surface played an important role in directing movement. The plan size, blend of colours and use of white granite kerbs laid flush with the surface all played a part in suggesting particular routes through the space, while physical barriers, such as upstand kerbs, were removed. To aid the visually impaired through this unusual space, the designers included a strip of tactile paving that ran the full length of the street. The interface with the pavilion gardens took its cue from Nash’s original logic and a timber ‘fence’ was established at the boundary. The ‘fence’ curves in section to become an extruded bench, with its geometry derived from armchairs and their more relaxed approach to sitting. A range of surface finishes to the granite was chosen in response to particular need. The setts and slabs were finished with a flamed surface to provide adequate grip to pedestrians and vehicles. To the front of the long timber bench, a split-faced finish proved an effective deterrent to skateboarders. For the edges with adjoining streets, a heavy split-faced finish was used to generate a slight rumble strip that provides the motorist with a signal that they are entering a different type of space.
Other technical details The street has been redesigned as the city’s first shared surface, in which the street surface and furniture are laid out to encourage defensive driver behaviour.
Contractors Artist: Esther Rolinson
Contractor: Edburton
Timber benches: Woodhouse
Stone: Hardscape
Category Townscape

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