The Barbican: Brutalist Complex Enclosing Art, History, and Nature

Following the Second World War, the United Kindom went for a period of reconstructing its cities. Designed in 1955 by the architects Chamberlin, Powell, and Bon, the Barbican Estate stems from this effort. Accordingly, the architects aimed to build an estate symbolizing the negative effects of the war while also being different from the existing European architecture. Therefore, they went with Brutalism and designed a futuristic residential complex that would stand out among glass and concrete buildings around it. The estate was built, and it was officially opened in 1982.

The Barbican Estate in London

The construction of this estate was not actually a social housing project but a means of repopulating London. The Barbican’s location used to be a commercial center which resulted in a population decrease from 100,000 to around 5,000 between 1850 and 1951. So, the Barbican was an opportunity to attract new residents into the city. Today, there are more than 4,000 residents living in the estate.

The Barbican Estate

Besides being a Brutalist residential complex, the Barbican Estate is also the largest multipurpose arts venue in Europe


The Barbican estate has a pleasant atmosphere to it with charming greenery, ponds, and the presence of wildlife around it. The estate buildings also enclose some remains of the past that is the historic St. Giles’ Cripplegate Church and the fragments of the old London wall. Moreover, the complex contains a public library, the Barbican Arts Centre, the Museum of London, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the City of London School for Girls, making it the largest multipurpose arts venue in Europe.

The Barbican Estate in London, UK
The Barbican Estate in London
The Barbican Estate