Speirs Major were part of a team that were commissioned to upgrade a small public square in the busy Thames corridor town of Swindon. This forgotten space at the west end of the main commercial axis was transformed through three simple moves: re-paving and landscaping the general area, providing a large timber screen to conceal the façade of a multi-storey car park and through the re-lighting of the space.
The approach was to avoid the use of light columns other than at the perimeter of the square to help reduce clutter. Lighting to the centre of the space is then produced through the illumination of the landscape elements; the paving is washed from the benches, trees are uplit, walls downlit and the timber screen glows from the internal lighting of the car park. The design not only increased the legibility of the space but also provided colour, contrast and texture and in spite of relatively low light levels the space feels safe and secure.
The final result transformed what was an otherwise hostile public area into a vibrant new public place both by day and by night.