I have been following the competition to renovate/reinvent the Barbican with the utmost interest. £150 million which is the quoted cost of the project is far higher than would be required if it was simply a question of preserving and protecting the character of a major monument of the 1960s. So, the plan must be to do something dramatic and ambitious: not necessarily a bad thing, but tricky if you are dealing with the integrity of such a historically important set of buildings.
It coincides with the potential demolition of the old Museum of London, a possible move of the market traders out of Smithfield, and the opening of a new Museum of London: in other words, the total redevelopment of the heart of the City round Smithfield, Charterhouse Square and the Barbican.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro are already working on a new project for the Museum of London site. BIG are hardly known for their sensitivity to the historic environment. Allies and Morrison are good urban planners, and are working with Asif Khan, a strong combination.
It looks as though the Barbican as we know it is effectively doomed.
2 thoughts on “The Barbican Competition (1)”
Someone who knows told me that the City is very reluctant to build any new housing – least of all social housing – because they would then be liable to provide a range of facilities such as schools & sports centres as well. Office development much simpler
Yes, simpler and cruder, but makes for an increasingly bleak environment in the east of the City.