It has to be said that parts of it are looking a bit run down these days, although the vast Barbican estate in the City of London remains a desirable address for most Londoners.
Covering a large chunk of Cripplegate – an area that was so badly damaged during the war that almost all of it was demolished by 1951 – the estate was built between 1965 and 1976, on a 35-acre site.
CityPoint tower, Ropemaker Street on the northern fringes of the City of London.
If you love concrete you’re going to love this place, and in 2001, the Minister for the Arts, Tessa Blackstone, decided to award Grade II listing to the Barbican complex. So we’re stuck with it forever.
The development was designated a site of special architectural interest on the grounds of its “scale, its cohesion and the ambition of the project.”
Looming up next to the Barbocan is the Heron Tower which modestly claims to “redefine standards of luxury living in the City” and be “the ultimate residential experience.”
In amongst the lines of concrete lies a rather pleasant lake with gushing fountains and even the odd heron.
If you like concrete walkways, the Barbican is the place for you – it’s got loads of them!
Another walkway. With a pretty yellow line.
Sitting rather uncomfortably amid all the concrete is St Giles’ without Cripplegate, one of the few medieval churches left in the City of London (it managed to survive the Great Fire of 1666).
The current Grade I structure dates back from 1394, although there’s has been a church on this site since the 11th century. Oliver Cromwell was married here too.
A lot of the areas around the Barbican are quite tatty – check out our earlier walk past closed shops and pubs.
Outside the fab Museum of London, which is incorporated in the Barbican estate.
This is probably the ugliest piece of architecture in the Barbican.
What is it? A train shed? Church? No, it’s a Tandoori house!
The estate contains three of London’s tallest residential towers, standing 42 storeys and 123 metres (404 ft) high.
In the top two or three floors of each block resides the posh folks in their penthouse flats, rattling their jewellery.
Discuss the Barbican estate on our boards
More info: The history of the Barbican Estate
7 Comments on “A spring strut through the Barbican estate, London”
I love it – wonderful place to go for a wander, and the cafes in the centre are brilliant. I like to imagine the plot of Highrise is being acted out in those towers…
I wonder what the long term prognosis for the Barbican is. I’m just thinking about concrete cancer and the likes.
As I understand it, Battersea power station has terminal concrete cancer- i.e. nothing can be done. Will the Barbican eventually go the same way?
A garbled sentence in the vocabulary of architecture.
Its very much an icon in brutalist style. vastly more successful than other similar schemes such as park Hill in Sheffield.
I would suggest the main problem is it Labyrinthian in respect of navigating around it. I know the towers are supposed to act as landmarks for navigating the place, but they are all triangular in plan, and so orientation cannot be easily distinguished.