Cripplegate, the name of the area of the City of London in which the Barbican estate now stands, was destroyed during WWII. Early plans to redevelop the site looked to align with the 1944 Greater London plan – namely, to focus on commercial premises.
However, having designed the nearby Golden Lane Estate, architects Chamberlin, Powell & Bon were brought on board in 1954 and the focus changed to residential redevelopment. The architects’ early plans led to controversy, widespread debate, and numerous redesigns. Construction didn’t begin until 1963 – a full nine years after the architects were commissioned – and didn’t finish until the mid-1970s.
Today, the Barbican stands as a divisive monument to London’s approach to post-war housing development. It’s one of the primary examples of brutalist architecture in London. While most people either love it or hate it, few actually understand it.
My love for the estate began with its scale. Once I realised it was possible to navigate a way through the estate (an intended design feature), I found myself going out of my way to do so, and learning more about why and how it was designed the way it was.
The more I understood it, the further my passion for heralding the place developed. I started documenting it through photography in 2013 and return often to see how the light and seasonal variations affect it.
Documenting the estate is an ongoing project for me so I’ll be blogging about it again with new images in the near future.