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Building the Brutal

How we built the Barbican

The Barbican is one of London's best examples of Brutalist architecture. It was part of a utopian vision to transform an area of London left devastated by bombing during the Second World War. The arts centre took over a decade to build, and was opened by The Queen in 1982, who declared it ‘one of the modern wonders of the world’.

The photographer Peter Bloomfield was commissioned by the Barbican's first Managing Director to document the final stages of building's construction and the first public events in the building. His beautiful images - which have never been widely shared with the public - capture the astonishing scale and ambition of the construction effort. Explore them here.


Drag the sliders to follow the Barbican from its origins to today.

Concert Hall


Conservatory II

Silk Street



Lakeside II



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