This collection of plans, photographs, fixtures and fittings shows the Barbican from the perspective of its designers Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, and what life was like for the first residents of this audacious, utopian space.
Completed in 1969, the Barbican Estate has since become a renowned landmark of brutalist architecture and its tallest towers are still visible across the city. Blueprints and mock-ups show how 140 different types of flat make up the complex of concrete, curves and corners; construction materials and a space-saving sink are on display too and shed light on the engineering, technological and interior design principles which guided the buildings' creators.
The best exhibit is a slapstick promotional film used by the Barbican to show off its then brand-new flats. The narrator's stymied, cut glass accent jars with a building that seems to look in the opposite direction, but also provides a context for understanding the Estate on its original terms, and just quite how radical those must have seemed.
|Designing for a Living City, Barbican
|Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS | MAP
19 Mar 16 – 16 Oct 16, 9am–11pm Mon–Sat 12pm–11pm Sun, Public holidays
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