Barking Town Square wins 5th European Prize Urban Public Space

Barking Town Square, designed by muf architecture/art, has been declared winner of the 5th European Prize for Urban Public Space, making it the first project in Britain to receive the prestigious prize.

Barking Town Square is part of the Mayor’s 100 Public Spaces project and Muf’s first phase includes a large, hard landscape of pink granite slabs that runs alongside the town hall. A folly of flowers, bricks and found objects sits at one end of it. For the second phase, a soft landscape of mounds, woodlands and benches will run between a row of flats and shops and the public library adjacent to the arcade. Linking these two disparate environments, the arcade has been built along the recessed ground floor of the library. 
muf are proposing to exploit this condition: filling one open space with a forest; extending the existing walkway to form an arcade creating a new pedestrian connection, and marking the area in front the Town Hall with a single mature magnolia tree.
The North facade of the new building for the square is pulled back at the ground floor creating an eight metre high arcade. In the spirit of celebrating municiple provision they have introduced large scale candalabra and propose a tiled geometric floor material. The candalabra brings a more human scale suspended at four metres - the tiling marks the route to the Town Hall and refers to the long lost but lamented edwardian villas and their front paths. The trees are positioned to accomodate the desire lines that run diagonally across the site.
The developers behind the T-shaped square, which features the Barking Learning Centre, beat 176 entries from locations in 26 countries.
The European Prize for Urban Public Space is a biennial prize awarded to projects which foster the process of recovering the public dimension of urban spaces in Europe, as well as their capacity for social inclusion and democracy-building in our cities.
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