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A Brief History of Brutalism at the Barbican

Online Short Course

The Barbican Sculpture Court

Run in partnership with the Guildhall School, this short course provides an engaging and critical introduction to Brutalist architecture through the iconic and groundbreaking design of the Barbican.

Learn about the origins of the Brutalist style, its unique relationship with Britain and its enduring impact on architecture and design.

Taught online via live Zoom sessions, the course will be spread over six seminars. The course is ideal for anyone looking to gain more knowledge in architecture and design. No previous knowledge is required. 

The deadline for bookings is 9am on Monday 25 January 2021.

Participants can expect to:

  • Gain an understanding of Brutalism and its place within 20th century architecture, from its origins as a design movement to a popular and widespread style.
  • Understand the movement’s rise, fall and recent resurgence.
  • Comprehend the features and characteristics of the Brutalist movement through a focus on the Barbican and the neighbouring Golden Lane Estate.
  • Learn the basics of Brutalist architecture from original architectural plans and sketches.
  • Experience Brutalism’s connection to other artforms and creative fields from cinema to sculpture.
  • Understand the long relationship between Brutalism, Britain and social housing.


  • For anyone aged 18+
  • No prior knowledge or training in architecture or design is necessary. Those new to the subject are encouraged.
  • Applicants must have sufficient English language skills to cope with course demands.

About the Course Tutor

The course will be led by Jon Astbury, Assistant Curator, Architecture & Design, Barbican Art Gallery.

Jon is currently a visiting lecturer in Architectural History and Theory at De Montfort University, Leicester and has lectured at The Bartlett, UCL. Prior to joining the Barbican as Assistant Curator in Architecture and Design he held editorial posts at The Architectural Review and The Architects’ Journal.

Key Info

Dates: Wednesday evenings, 27 January, 3, 10, 17, 24 February and 3 March 2021
Time: 7pm-8.30pm, BST (UTC+1)/GMT(UTC+/-0)
Fee: £195
Ages: 18+

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Online Course Requirements

All sessions will take place online using Zoom. A Zoom link will be sent to you before the course start date with further instructions.

To participate in online classes you will need an email address, a reliable internet connection and a computer/laptop/tablet with your browser fully updated to be able to use the most up to date version of Zoom, which will host the course. Your device will need a microphone, and preferably a camera, though joining via audio only is possible.

If you have any questions regarding joining one of our online courses please contact us.