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Our building

Our architecture

the barbican's architecture

An icon of Brutalist architecture, the Barbican has always been controversial. Voted ‘London’s ugliest building’ in 2003, among design aficionados it's one of the UK’s architectural treasures.

Working with a site almost completely razed by the Blitz, the Barbican’s architects, Chamberlain, Powell and Bon, seized the opportunity to propose a radical transformation of how we live in buildings and cities.

The result is one of London’s most ambitious and unique architectural achievements: a city within a city that is raised above street level and draws on a rich palette of references, from ancient Roman fortresses and French Modernism to Mediterranean holidays and Scandinavian design.

Home to some 4,000 residents across 2,000 flats, organised around schools, a church, a library, an artificial lake, conservatory and an entire arts centre, no detail was left unconsidered, from the top of the 40 storey towers to the basement theatre and cinemas.
 
In 2001 the entire complex received Grade II listed status. Today you can explore the site freely, from the Centre’s many public spaces, cafes and restaurants to the highwalks and estate gardens. 
 
We also offer 90 minute Architecture Tours led by our expert guides, and a series of talks, films and courses exploring architecture and urbanism. 

Concrete Facts

Architecture Tours

Brutal or beautiful? Join us for a walking tour and discover the fascinating history behind the building of the Barbican Estate

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