REIMAGINING EASTLEIGH CITY CENTRE
Studio BAD have been working on a feasibility study of Eastleigh town centre, focused on the areas around the High Street and Market Street but celebrating the diversity of the whole Borough. The project came as a direct consequence of the Covid measures the town put in place, with road closures and pedestrianisation of key parts of the town, it gave the Council an opportunity to review how they could take reimagine the town centre to better support the community across many aspects such as social, retail, health and leisure.
Our proposals looked to adopt permanent and semi-permanent interventions, reflecting the unique heritage of the town to create a vibrant and attractive environment, for locals and visitors alike. The proposal looks at a range of ideas from short term, to the long term design plans for the town, which celebrate the essence of Eastleigh to create a more vibrant and engaging town centre that will encourage economic upturn.
We forensically studied the town to identify the many unique layers which underpin the history, culture and design of the place. Key ideas we wanted to celebrate throughout the designs included the railway heritage, hidden architecture and the industrial cultural heritage, whilst also looking to green the city and support the diversity of the community.
Eastleigh is a main hub for the local railway network, with a busy and bustling station right at the heart of the town, we wanted to bring this connection into our designs which we looked to do by incorporating the bold colours, distinctive to the railway lines. We also looked to install Parklet structures across the town, modular seating for outdoor seating and dining which take train carriages as their design cues. These simple structures, with integrated planters, look to add social gathering points across the town, encouraging people to dwell and help to support local cafes and restaurants outlets.
Throughout Eastleigh there is distinctive architecture and beautiful detailing, often above the shop fronts and hidden above the glass rain canopies. We looked at ideas to encourage people to ‘look up’ to rediscover these forgotten treasures, we also wanted to bring aspects of these designs down into street level to enrich the urban realm. We distilled the distinctive motifs and architectural features and created pattens to be installed in street painting, wall murals and on the rain canopies, celebrating the local architecture and creating a vivid backdrop for the town.
Eastleigh has deep connections to cutting edge industry, such as the railways, spitfire and Perelli works, which we looked to commemorate these iconic industries. We look to install murals on walls, and vinyl’s in empty retail shop windows, to celebrate this heritage.
Within the town we identified a pivotal area between Wells Place, Leigh Road and the Swan Centre, we imagined this area as a focal point for the town that could support and host events throughout the year, engaging with people and celebrating the diversity of the community. A permeable route from this point, through the town would be activated through art installations and event pop up spaces, encouraging the public to explore onwards into the town.
The proposal will deliver a vibrant, attractive environment designed distinctly for Eastleigh.