Wednesday, July 22, 2009

things I'll miss (05)





concrete, and flowers



the courtyard

if I had to name just one favourite place in London, I think it would be the Barbican.

every time I go I am still in awe that a structure like this was really built.
at least from today's point of view, and after having dealt with the british planning system myself for two years,
it seems incredible that a vision like this could have been made reality.

the architects, Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, were comparatively young at the time
and had only built one other project before (the Golden Lane Estate just north of the Barbican).

the Barbican is a great place to be (even if concrete does not happen to be your favourite material):
you can go see the exhibition, films, concerts.
you can sit in the courtyard by the lake for lunch, coffee, drinks or dinner and watch the ducks.
you can wander around, three storeys above street level, and imagine how it would be to live in one of the flats.
you can sit on the tables or sofas just outside the great hall and listen to the concert that's going on inside,
and buy a drink from one of the bars. but nobody will tell you to go away if you don't.

I do love concrete, and the strength of these massive forms overwhelms me
and makes my knees feel shaky for a moment every time I go (and I go a lot).
You can feel the architects' vision in every step you take. I think that's what good architecture is all about.

the images above are my favorite ones, but you can see a lot more, including some from the inside, here.


  1. I didn't know about this place but it looks nice! I sure will check it out when I'm in London next time! Thank you for this post ;)

  2. i love the barbican also, especially on a day when it's almost empty.
    i would lvoe to live in one of the towers but they're so flipping pricey!