Beautiful Brutalism

sunshine

A long, long time ago in my late teens/early twenties I worked in a little restaurant/bar next door to Moorgate Station. There was a sister restaurant just behind us above another entrance for the station that led into the Barbican Estate and this was when I was probably first properly introduced to Brutalist Architecture. I would spend many a lunchtime wandering round and admiring the estate. Both restaurants and the escalators and walkway above the entrance onΒ Β  street are all gone to make way for the Crossrail but the estate is still their in all its brutal glory.

look up

defoe house

tower

al fresco

On the estate is also the Barbican Centre, a cultural arts centre that houses exhibitions, has a cinema and theatre amongst many things. There is a restaurant and a terrace that you can also enjoy as a visitor but pretty much most of the estate is closed off because it’s a private residential area. It is one of my favourite places in London, smack bang in the city and a serene little oasis anyway from the hustle and bustle. I always dreamed of living there but property prices these days have killed that off! A three bedroom flat on the 12th floor will set you back at least Β£1.6 million!!!! You can read more about the history of the estate here.

barbican centre

stairwell in the centre

side balcony

On Saturday we went to an exhibition at Arts Centre, followed by some lunch and walk round the accessible parts of the estate so I could get some pictures. I did have my main camera with me but stupidly forgot to put the SD card back in it, so I ended up using my phone instead, so not the greatest quality but I can still show you what I saw. Mainly for me I love the shapes, the curves, the line, the way the towers loom over the city. How the estate has its own florist and residents adorn the concrete balconies with foliage. On a cloudy day it looks mean and moody and on a sunny day it’s actually quite beautiful.

look up 2

frobresher crescent

barbican terrace

stairs

semi circles

curves

hanging

barbican balconies

balconies

private

barbican fountains

curved stair

blue stairs

cross rail

This last picture is where the old walkway into the estate above the entrance on Moorfields which is just behind the entrance on Moorgate, to make way for the new crossfields. I was kind of bittersweet about my old work place being demolished, on the one hand it introduced me to a beautiful part of the city which I would explore on my breaks because I had to get away for my idiot boss, on the other hand I actually hated working at that restaurant because I had an idiot boss who used to pick on me!

Things never really the same or they get stagnant, so it is always interesting to see how the new evolves around the old. By any means the Barbican isn’t an old estate, construction was started in the 60s, so quite young by compared to some but for me it still one of my favourite places in the city. I have to visit the conservatory in there, it’s usually open on Sundays and Bank Holidays, so I will definitely be returning whether it for this or an exhibition.

I plan this summer to take more walks and photos, and next time I’ll remember to put the memory card back in my camera!

Please note that all photos remain my property, please do not use without permission or credit.

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