“The Secret Garden” is a project promoted by the School of Architecture at the University of Portsmouth and the City Council of Campi Salentina in Italy. The pavilion, whose function is to house temporary exhibitions, has been designed by architecture students under the direction of Senior Lecturer and Architect Guido Robazza.
This urban pavilion project is a component of the participatory process CHECENTRO established within the Urban Plan for the Regeneration of the Historical Center of the City of Campi Salentina and has been locally coordinated by Marco Patruno (MAD - Meeting Architecture and Design).
The initiative is part of the research project “Co-Production of Temporary Interventions in Public Space as a tool for Placemaking” which builds on the assumption that, in cities, there is an abundance of unused spaces and investigates the power of temporary use of public space as a tool for urban social regeneration.
Empowering local communities to take ownership of such spaces and decide their use can at the same time raise awareness on alternative potential ways to use the public realm, create links between diverse urban actors, and offer individuals and groups new forms of civic participation.
The aim of the project was to create a new element in the square able to generate new urban energy and became a place that people use as part of their daily life. This timber pavilion created an unfamiliar and recognizable element that triggered curiosity by the citizens, and although for a short period of time, brought a different balance in the square and the town. The project partially involved the local community in the construction phase.
The project measured quantitatively and qualitatively the impact of this pavilion in the perception of local inhabitants in terms of interpreting the significance and utility of this intervention in the public space.