Barbican Estate
Shakespeare Tower, one of the three residential towers

The Barbican Estate is a residential estate built during the 1960s and the 1970s in the City of London, in an area once devastated by World War II bombings and today densely populated by financial institutions. It contains, or is adjacent to, the Barbican Arts Centre, the Museum of London, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Barbican public library, the City of London School for Girls and a YMCA, forming the Barbican Complex. The complex is a prominent example of British brutalist architecture and, with the exception of Milton Court (which contained a fire station, medical facilities and some flats), is Grade II listed as a whole.[1]

Contents

History

Frieze recovered from Bryers and Sons building at 53 and 54 Barbican which survived wartime bombing but was demolished to make way for the redevelopment

During World War II, the City suffered serious damage and loss of life. The Cripplegate area was virtually demolished and by 1951 the resident population of the City stood at 5,324 of whom 48 lived in Cripplegate. Discussions began in 1952 about the future of the site, and the decision to build new residential properties was taken by the Court of Common Council on 19 September 1957.[2]

The estate was built between 1965 and 1976, on a 35-acre (140,000 m2) site that was bombed in World War II.The complex was designed by architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, whose first work was the earlier, ground-breaking Golden Lane Estate immediately North of Barbican. The estate of 40 acres (160,000 m2) was officially opened in 1969 and is now home to around 4,000 people living in 2,014 flats.[2] The flats reflect the widespread use in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s of concrete as the visible face of the building.

The central public court of the Barbican, Lakeside Terrace, features a café area.

The Minister for the Arts, Tessa Blackstone, announced in September 2001 that the Barbican complex was to be Grade II listed. It has been designated a site of special architectural interest for its scale, its cohesion and the ambition of the project.[3] The complex is architecturally important as it is one of London's principal examples of concrete Brutalist architecture and considered a landmark.

Blocks and towers

The residential estate consists of 13 terrace blocks, grouped around the lake and green squares within the complex. The main buildings rise for up to seven floors above a podium level, which links all the facilities in the Barbican, providing a pedestrian route above street level. Some maisonettes are built into the podium structure. There is no vehicular access within the estate, but there are some car parks at the periphery of the estate. Public car parks are located within the Barbican centre.

The estate also contains three of London's tallest residential towers, at 42 storeys and 123 metres (404 ft) high. The top two or three floors of each block comprise three penthouse flats. The towers are (east to west):

Once the tallest residential towers in London, they were surpassed by the Pan Peninsula development near Canary Wharf.

Barbican complex

A panorama of the Barbican complex

The Barbican Estate also contains the Barbican Centre (an arts, drama and business venue), the Barbican public library, the City of London School for Girls, the Museum of London, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. A YMCA building was constructed between 1965 and 1971[3] to link the Barbican and Golden Lane Estate, it is also listed.

Nearby rail and Tube

National Rail
London Underground

See also

References and notes

External links

Coordinates: 51°31′09″N 0°05′38″W / 51.51917°N 0.09389°W / 51.51917; -0.09389


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