Architecture and Urban Design students have been researching the use of benches in the centre of town.
21 Jan 2015
MA Architecture and Urban Design students, along with MA Photography and a PhD student, have undertaken a 24 hour ‘Bench Study’. This is a pilot project to explore a method of research that examines the experiences of a range of people who use public seating in the form of long, seating benches located in central Brighton’s New Road.
The benches were installed in the pedestrianised road, which runs behind the Royal Pavilion, as part of a package of design features to encourage particular usages of the space, and are one of the area’s key features.
The benches were observed and videoed/photographed by the students as a representation of the inhabitation of the space, at a micro level, over a 24 hour period. The results are producing insights into the ways in which different groups of people co-inhabit and negotiate the space, whether their interrelations are fleeting or enduring.
The Bench Study follows analysis and design work carried out by the MA Architectural and Urban Design course over the last three years – in which they have produced a detailed study of the ‘shared space’ of New Road, developing research methods to document it and negotiating the space through photography, filmmaking, animation, drawing, interviewing and recording.
This inter-disciplinary work, undertaken with Dr Lesley Murray (School of Applied Social Sciences) at the University of Brighton, has been presented and discussed at the’ Emotional Geographies Conference’ in Groningen, Holland and is to be the subject of a chapter in a forthcoming book Intergenerational Mobilities. There is also a paper to be delivered at the ‘Designing Mobilities Workshop’ at London South Bank University in April 2015.