Barking Central links commercial needs with civic engagement to breathe life into what had become something of a forgotten Thames Gateway backwater. A cluster of new buildings – a diverse mix of forms, heights, tones and textures – are positioned around the existing Barking Town Hall to capture a civic square and reintroduce historical routes. Phase one, completed in 2007, is a U-shaped block of apartments perching on a colonnade of v-shaped props. The apartments sit above the new Barking Learning Centre that has been reinvented out of an aging public library. Phase two, completed in 2010, comprises five more buildings; three residential blocks, a 66-bed hotel and a bicycle shed for 250 bikes. The Lemonade Building, the tallest of the residential towers at 17-storeys, signposts the project from the A13 and beyond. Drawing inspiration from the site’s former R Whites factory and the leaf tones of the central arboretum, the overall colour scheme not only binds together the cluster of buildings but emphasises the protruding balconies and recessed loggias. The project is the result of a drawn-out dance between public and private interests and stands as a lived-in symbol of the wider-scale regeneration of the area.