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Burnishing the Phoenix

Flagship public art-led regeneration scheme revisited

MJP’s Royal Town Planning Institute Award winning Phoenix Initiative is reviewed in Issue 128 of the Urban Design Group Journal.

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Link to Urban Design Group website: Urban Design Issue 128

A journey has been created through the city to amplify Coventry’s standing as the city of international peace and reconciliation, symbolised by the ruined and re-built cathedral. It capitalises on visitors from the Cathedral, providing a clearly defined pedestrian route with new destinations along the way that encourage people to stay longer in the heart of the city and support local businesses.

Very few practices at the time would have responded with this kind of pluralistic thinking, and fewer still had the same level of commitment to and understanding of the role and potency of the artist in the public realm

Neil Deely, Partner Metropolitan Workshop

By reconnecting two key visitor attractions the project set out to generate the critical mass needed to kickstart further regeneration.
The 3ha site links two major visitor attractions; Basil Spence’s Cathedral and the Coventry Transport Museum.

The project aimed to revive a previously neglected part of the city by creating a series of connected new public spaces. By uncovering some of Coventry’s ancient past (whilst creating two new public squares, two beautiful new gardens, plus housing, cafes and bars) the Phoenix Initiative created a new focus for the centre of Coventry.

Overlaying the urban structure is an extensive public art programme. Each artwork is integral to the design and context of each new space and draws on local history and tradition to provide a new exciting urban experience that is relevant and representative of Coventry’s past, present and future.

Link to MJP Project Page: Coventry Phoenix Initiative