Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The Barbican Centre | The Small Desk

The Barbican Centre: a Brutalist piece of architecture, a sight for sore eyes to some, yet I've heard so many people talking about it recently that I decided I had to make a visit. 

During the Second World War this part of London was very heavily bombed; it needed to be rebuilt and repopulated. It became the perfect opportunity for London to prove to the rest of the world that it was not only following leading scholarly research on architecture, but it was able to provide a utopian city for its population. The proposal for the site was first submitted in 1955, construction work began in 1971, and it was opened by the Queen in 1982. 

The Centre is a mini city within a city: it has its own schools, doctors, dentist, childcare centre, arts centre, conference centre and green spaces. The whole Centre has strict rules and regulations to ensure a peaceful existence, such as no pets and uniformity of the exterior. It is now a Grade II listed building, which means every effort should be made to protect it, and that it is of special architectural interest. It really does feel like a secluded, special part of London, that despite being open to all, feels like an 'invite-only' type of place.

When we first arrived we spent ages simply walking around and marvelling at the architecture. We peered into people's gardens...

... walked along the highwalk...

... and thought about what it would be like to live in the flats here.

I drooled over the cake at the Food Court...

... and then we had lunch. I had a potato and chickpea soup and the boyf had a smoked salmon bagel.

Once we'd got our energy levels up we headed to the art gallery. The Gallery is quite famous and they often have some really interesting and unique shows on. Whilst we were there we went to see the exhibition, 'Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector'. It showcased the collections of some very famous artists, such as Damien Hirst and Martin Parr. My favourite collection was that of Martin Parr as he collects hilarious postcards, but also old photographs from past news stories. We also saw the actual hare with amber eyes netsuke from the book by Edmund de Waal.

Afterwards we had a wander around the rest of the site and I took a few more photos to share with you.

I hope you enjoyed this almost tour around the Barbican Centre, and whether or not you like the architecture there is no doubting it is a vital piece of London's rich and diverse history. Any recommendations on where I should explore next in London would be gratefully received, as despite living here my whole life, there is still so much of it I haven't seen!

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