The Barbican estate - what's your verdict?

Discussion in 'London and the South East' started by editor, May 5, 2011.

  1. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

  2. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    It's got some great architectural theatrics. That lake, the bridges and fountains, the overlapping pedestrian areas, the sawtooth towers. I actually like the finish as well - they cast the concrete smooth and then used hammers to knock it back to reveal the aggregate. Built to last 100s of years, so they say. My boss used to live there and he highly rates the apartments - built to a high spec and very nicely laid out.

    But as town planning it's abysmal. Completely isolated and impenetrable from the surrounding streets. The "front" entrance of the arts center opens onto the lakeside, which would be great if you could actually get to the lake from the surrounding streets or the tube station without navigating a maze of ramps and bridges and passages.

    Most of the really tatty stuff in your photos isn't part of the Barbican Estate, but is surrounding developments that share the highwalk system of overhead walkways. The estate itself is well maintained, although the paving tiles are notorious for delaminating in cold weather, so they're always being patched up.
  3. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    I like the central part, I don't think the walkways work - it's really difficult to work out how to get some places - and this thing is hideous.

  4. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    I agree. It doesn't even do anything, it's just full of walkway and ramp that go nowhere
  5. maldwyn

    maldwyn What?

    One of my favorite places - all council estates should be like this :D

    I think its isolated vibe - particularly at weekends - is about to change with that massive residential tower being built on its north-east corner.

    And its library is the best i've been a member of.
  6. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    Mind you, I doubt if you'll find a Tandoori House with a more impressive façade anywhere in Britain.
  7. FunkyUK

    FunkyUK u=5337

    I walk through most of the spots you have photographed daily. I love the brutalism of The barbican, and can't get enough of it. The highwalks around the St Alphage House, Podium Pub, and Westminster and Midland Banks have beed earmarked for redevelopment very soon, so that should alleviate some of the shabbiness. I think the Crossrail redevelopment at Moorgate may tidy up the area around Moorfields highwalk too. Which will be nice. The pointless stairwell that is above Barbican Tandoori that you've photographed is truly abhorrent, and could happily be knocked down in my book.
  8. marty21

    marty21 One on one? You're crazy.

    I like it, go there fairly regularly , mostly to go to one of the cinemas, have been to the theatre there a few times, and the art galleries which usually have something interesting on. Plus there's the curve gallery which is free and has strange stuff sometimes - like the little birds flying around from last year, at the moment the curve has a games exhibition, which is basically large screens showing bowling games from atari days to xbox - which is very noisy! Used to get a bit lost there but over the years you do get used to it, and they have improved the entrance area and navigation. It's great at weekends, as you can park nearby for free, and the city is still very quiet at weekends.
  9. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    Shame it's not a council estate :(
  10. FridgeMagnet

    FridgeMagnet Administrator

    I love it, though some of that is due to it bringing back memories from early childhood when my parents used to drag me around the South Bank, which is a dreamlike environment when you're only small. The confusing layout just adds to that feeling.

    I was there a few months ago in really sharp, clear light, and that really exaggerates the edges and makes for amazing photos.
  11. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    By repurposing what's supposed to be the backstage and staff/service entrance on Silk Street :)
  12. marty21

    marty21 One on one? You're crazy.

    it is a much better entrance now.

    The cafes are a bit meh though - coffee used to be useless, just out of a push button machine - but they have got costa coffee in now who have a franchise there, so that has improved, but the prices are a bit :eek: for food in the cafe by the lake.

    I'm there at the weekend, the annual Australian Film Festival is on for the next couple of weeks.
  13. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    Museum of London is ace though.
  14. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    Very much so. One of the best museums in the city, IMO.
  15. fractionMan

    fractionMan Custom Title

    Really? Never been there.
  16. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    Totally worth the visit. It's got roman remains in the basement, well preserved with shops and pavements all laid out. Lots of replicas of 'typical London scenes' throughout history. Loads of information and interesting exhibits. Basically anything that gets found when foundations are dug in the City ends up there.
  17. stethoscope

    stethoscope Well-Known Member

    It is.
  18. fractionMan

    fractionMan Custom Title

    Oooh. I must give it a visit then.
  19. TruXta

    TruXta tired

    Me gusta, but yeah, isolated. TBH I find the whole area a bit confusing cuz of shite planning.
  20. DJWrongspeed

    DJWrongspeed radio eros

    Agree here. It does have it's good points certainly but enormously let down by accessibility. I've seen people just give up trying to get to where they wanted to go ! Obviously the arts centre was an afterthought but even there the puzzling routes and obstacles to places continues apace: lifts only going to certain floors, walkways leading to nowhere & hidden box offices ! The Pit theatre is one of London's finest once you get there.

    Barbican Architecture Tour hope to go on this soon.
  21. maldwyn

    maldwyn What?

    An estate built by the local council for rent counts as a council estate in my book :D - I know some of the original 'social' tenants who haven't done the right to buy thing.

    Though admittedly these days it's more of a gated community for the wealthy.
  22. Badgers

    Badgers Mr Big Shrimp!

    Love it :)
  23. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    It's got no social housing in it at all (AFAIK) - your acquaintances must live on the adjacent Golden Lane estate. The Barbican was conceived from the start as middle-class housing for City workers.
  24. maldwyn

    maldwyn What?

    Interesting, I'll ask them but I'm sure they started out as 'social' tenants.

    AFAIK, the Golden Lane estate was built by L.B Finsbury - which then merged with L.B. Islington and finally the estate transferred to the City in the late 80's or early 1990(?)
  25. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

  26. kabbes

    kabbes "A top 400 poster"

    I agree with everything Crispy has said.

    I've been to numerous seminars, meetings and so on at the Barbican and it is surprisingly difficult to find your way to it and around it. Seems a shame, really.
  27. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    I had a friend who lived there and it took us an eternity to find the place.
  28. Sunray

    Sunray Its sunny somewhere.

    I'd like to live there.

    It still looks quite good, the faded exterior gives it a certain look that I really like, its a pain to navigate but that is part of the charm.

    The attention to detail in the design lives on and you have a centre of culture in practically in your basement.

    Its also (by design) a quiet place to live.
  29. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    1 bed flats start at £260/week - 2 beds start at around £450
  30. Badgers

    Badgers Mr Big Shrimp!

    I did some one for one of the main estate agents who sold and rented properties in the Barbican estates. He said he totally fell in love with the place over time and now lives there himself. Took me round half a dozen flats one day and I really liked it.

    My father in-law worked 'on the tools' in the Barbican for a long while. We have heard many interesting tales about the Garchey vacuum-powered waste-disposal system and other such engineering marvels :D

    This is a lovely flat but £585k for a 1 bedroom!!

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