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BARKING TOWN CENTRE

Architect: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Landscape architect: Andrew Grant Associates Client: Redrow The centre of Barking in east London is undergoing a thorough makeover, with the first phase nearing completion and the second about to start. Both phases, designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, with muf working on the public realm, include intense development accompanied by the creation of new civic spaces, surrounded by buildings with boldly coloured facades.

The centrepiece of the first, £27 million, phase is the transformation of an existing library into that modern equivalent, a 'lifelong learning centre', with a living roof by Andrew Grant Associates. Over the library will be 200 flats, arranged in a U shape around an elevated, planted courtyard - the living roof of the library building.

At the centre of the garden will be four 'planted hills' of different sizes, consisting of steel discs with integral drainage, containing topsoil, which is then planted with sedum ground cover interspersed with annuals. These 'hills' sit among a half metre of gravel cover to the underlying building.

At either end, where the living roof is over a new structure and so the constraints were fewer, there will be a mixture of timber decking, specimen trees and planting, such as bamboo. Again, sedum cover will be used over the tree pits. Glass balustrades at either end will satisfy safety requirements, while enabling visual continuity.

On the top of the flats will be green roofs for biodiversity, inaccessible to residents. The planned second stage will include a sedum roof.

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