Thursday, 10 January 2013

Barbican Estate

The Barbican Arts Centre hosts architectural tours for itself and the estate, I went on a tour just before Christmas hoping to broaden my knowledge of the incredible area and understand further the subject of Brutalism. The Barbican estate was built post-war, on 35-acres of bombed land. Chamberlin, Powell and Bon were architects known for their huge ambitions and often got carried away re-designing towns instead of just a few buildings - hence why the Barbican Estate is such a large landmark, and not just for residents, its walkways are predominantly public. Contrary to belief, the estate can go un-noticed. Just before emerging out of the Barbican underground there are stairs which lead you up onto one of its many walkways – for it is built above street level. Walking around the estate you notice you are always looking inwards at it, this is one of the key elements of design built for privacy and to evoke a community feel. Walkways are mostly concealed by the outside wall except for the fortress like arrow slit windows, the other wall left completely as a balcony to keep yours looking in. Fortress and Castle references feature throughout the estate, the tops of the towers have a fortress outline and shape to them. I could get carried away talking about this place, but I wont. The tour was thoroughly enjoyable and I would 100% recommend it! 

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