Lauderdale Tower, one of the three residential towers
|Type||Mixed use development|
|Town or city||City of London|
|Design and construction|
|Architecture firm||Chamberlin, Powell and Bon|
|Structural engineer||Ove Arup & Partners|
|Civil engineer||Ove Arup & Partners|
|Designations||Grade II listed|
The Barbican Estate is a residential estate built during the 1960s and the 1970s in the City of London, in an area once devastated by World War II bombings and today densely populated by financial institutions. It contains, or is adjacent to, the Barbican Arts Centre, the Museum of London, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Barbican public library, the City of London School for Girls and a YMCA (now closed), forming the Barbican Complex.
The Barbican Complex is a prominent example of British brutalist architecture and is Grade II listed as a whole with the exception of the late Milton Court. Milton Court once contained a fire station, medical facilities and some flats and was demolished to allow the construction of a new apartment complex which also contains additional facilities for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
The name of the Barbican comes from the Low Latin word ‘Barbecana’ which referred to a fortified outpost or gateway, such as an outer defence of a city or castle or any tower situated over a gate or bridge which was used for defence purposes.
During World War II, the City suffered serious damage and loss of life. The Cripplegate ward was virtually demolished and by 1951 the resident population of the City stood at 5,324 of whom 48 lived in Cripplegate. Discussions began in 1952 about the future of the site, and the decision to build new residential properties was taken by the Court of Common Council on 19 September 1957.
The estate was built between 1965 and 1976, on a 35-acre (14 ha) site that had been bombed in World War II. The complex was designed by architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, whose first work was the ground-breaking Golden Lane Estate immediately north of the Barbican. The estate of 40 acres (16 ha) was officially opened in 1969 and is now home to around 4,000 people living in 2,014 flats. The flats reflect the widespread use in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s of concrete as the visible face of the building.
The Minister for the Arts, Tessa Blackstone, announced in September 2001 that the Barbican complex was to be Grade II listed. It has been designated a site of special architectural interest for its scale, its cohesion and the ambition of the project. The complex is architecturally important as it is one of London's principal examples of concrete Brutalist architecture and considered a landmark.
Blocks and towers
The residential estate consists of 3 tower blocks, 13 terrace blocks, 2 mews and The Postern, Wallside and Milton Court.
The terrace blocks
These are grouped around a lake and green squares. The main buildings rise up to seven floors above a podium level, which links all the facilities in the Barbican, providing a pedestrian route above street level. Some maisonettes are built into the podium structure. There is no vehicular access within the estate, but there are some car parks at the periphery of the estate. Public car parks are located within the Barbican Centre.
The terrace blocks are named:
- Andrewes House - named after Lancelot Andrewes;
- Breton Court - named after Nicholas Breton;
- Bryer Court - named after W. Bryer & Sons;
- Bunyan Court - named after John Bunyan;
- Defoe House - named after Daniel Defoe;
- Frobisher Crescent - named after Martin Frobisher;
- Gilbert House - named after Humphrey Gilbert;
- Ben Jonson House - named after Ben Jonson;
- Thomas More House - named after Thomas More;
- Mountjoy House - named after Christopher Mountjoy;
- Seddon House - named after George Seddon;
- Speed House - named after John Speed;
- John Trundle Court - named after John Trundle;
- Willoughby House - named after Catherine Willoughby
The estate also contains three of London's tallest residential towers, at 42 storeys and 123 metres (404 ft) high. The top two or three floors of each block comprise three penthouse flats. The towers are (east to west):
- Cromwell Tower, completed in 1973 - named after Oliver Cromwell;
- Shakespeare Tower, completed in 1976 - named after William Shakespeare; and
- Lauderdale Tower, completed in 1974 - named after the Earl of Lauderdale.
The Barbican Estate also contains the Barbican Centre (an arts, drama and business venue), the Barbican public library, the City of London School for Girls, the Museum of London, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. A YMCA building was constructed between 1965 and 1971 to link the Barbican and Golden Lane Estate; it is also listed.
Nearby rail and Tube
|National Rail||Liverpool Street|
|London Underground||Liverpool Street|
References and notes
- "Finsbury Hostel Closure". Islington Gazette. Retrieved 2012-02-02.
- English Heritage. "Details from listed building database (1352667)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 12 June 2011.
- "Listing of the Barbican complex". City of London. Archived from the original on 2006-10-08. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
- Jennifer Clarke (1990), The Barbican Sitting on History, Corporation of London Records Office, ISBN 9780852030301, OCLC 24713108, 0852030304
- "Cromwell Tower". Emporis Buildings. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
- "Shakespeare Tower". Emporis Buildings. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
- "Lauderdale Tower". Emporis Buildings. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Barbican Estate.|
- The history of the Barbican Estate
- Corporation of London:Barbican Estate
- Barbican Life magazine
- 'Secret bits of the Barbican', Londonist