In reinventing an ageing public library into a modern social hub below six floors of new housing, Barking Learning Centre plays a key role in the urban regeneration of Barking’s town centre. This mixed-use building – the first phase of Barking Central – is composed of distinct segments; a U-shaped block of apartments perches atop a colonnade of v-shaped props, which lines the two-storey ‘plinth’ occupied by the Learning Centre. The plinth extends in a west wing containing a small gallery and classrooms, and defining the southern edge of the new Town Square, into which the Learning Centre’s new uses spill. On its exterior, the building derives its identity from patterns: repeating balconies animate the residential façades with colour and depth while the library’s mosaic skin of aluminium and glazed panels loosely wraps the existing structure to create new double-height interstitial spaces for entry, exhibition and repose. The ground floor’s informal layout encourages diverse use by the community, while the 246 one and two bedroom apartments above bring activity to the area across all hours.

Awards
  • 2008 British Construction Industry Award - Local Authority Award
  • 2008 European Prize for Public Urban Space
  • 2007 MIPIM Best Mixed Use Award
2007
Location
Barking, London
Cost
£38 Million
Client
Redrow Regeneration Ltd & Borough of Barking and Dagenham
Architect
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Architects
Stakeholders
London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, Barking College and University of East London
Project Manager
Gill Associates
Quantity Surveyor
Nigel Rose LLP
Structural / Civil Engineer
Buro Happold Ltd
Services Engineer
Faber Maunsell
Landscape Architect
Grant Associates
Public Realm Architect
Muf architecture / art
Fire Consultant
Buro Happold Ltd (Fedra)
Accessibility Consultant
Buro Happold Ltd
Highways Consultant
Buro Happold Ltd
Acoustic Consultant
Bickerdike Allen Partners
Planning Consultant
Hepher Dixon (246 scheme) and Robson Planning Consultancy (up to 206 scheme)
Planning Supervisor
Tweeds Project Services
Approved Inspector
NHBC
Main Contractor
Ardmore Construction Ltd
Graphic Design
Studio Myerscough


Sub-Contractors

BLC Cladding & Glazing
M Price Ltd
Residential cladding
Cladding UK


Suppliers

Resi Windows
Leiab
BLC Cladding
Schüco
BLC Furniture
Quinze & Milan / SCP and Vitra

Allford
Hall
Monaghan
Morris