7 March 2011

London Love: The Barbican

On Sunday I grabbed my magic travel card (it feels pretty magic when you only have 64p to your name but a card that can take you anywhere) and went to find Alice in the labyrinthine concrete jungle that is The Barbican centre. I was a little early so got a few shots of the amazing place before we went to see Howl.

Over the Lakeside bridge

The centre is something that fascinates me and yet so many people just don't seem to get it. In 2006 it was voted the ugliest building in London, described as "dreary and unimaginative". The commission who made such assumptions about the centre also stated that "Well-designed buildings enhance the urban environment and make working and living in London a richer experience." I'm pretty convinced this commision could never have visited the Barbican or experienced any of its bewildering walkways.

Inside the cafe at the Barbican

For seven quite surreal weeks last summer I worked nearby the Lakeside terrace, and spent every lunch time I could by the water side. The juxtaposition of Brutalist courts with overgrown ivy, ferns, lakes and sunken gardens are like nothing I've seen in any other European city, and the fact that it happens right in the centre of London is a stunning achievement in itself. I'm so glad the Barbican continues to prosper, and was so happy to get lost and be a little late if it meant exploring a bit further into the very concrete brand of escapism it offers.

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