It’s been three years recently that I live in London and every time I start to lack inspiration, the city itself gives me a new one! Well, how much can you photograph at covent garden or the south bank?! Even though I had heard about the Barbican before, I found it by accident, as usual, during one of my evening walks. The estate, located in the City of London and built in the 1960s on a site bombed during the war, is impressive. Especially when you first visit them at night!
Let’s do it!
Street photography at night in Barbican, London can offer a unique and captivating perspective on the city’s urban landscape. With its striking architecture and bustling streets, the Barbican provides a rich backdrop for capturing the energy and atmosphere of London after dark. However, it’s important to take precautions to ensure your safety while exploring the area at night. Be aware of your surroundings, stick to well-lit areas, and consider travelling in a group. With the right approach, night photography in Barbican can result in some truly stunning images.
10 interesting facts about Barbican
- Why is the Barbican called Barbican? The name of the Barbican comes from the Low Latin word “Barbecana”, which referred to a fortified outpost or gate: the outer defence of a town or castle, or any tower located above a gate or bridge that was used for defensive purposes. When visiting this estate, you can get the impression that it is a fortress with defensive towers.
- The biggest and best! The Barbican Center is the largest performing arts centre in Europe. It includes a 1,949-seat auditorium, a 1,166-seat theatre (designed exclusively for the Royal Shakespearean Company), a 200-seat Pit, 3 cinema screens, a Barbican library, 3 restaurants, 7 concert halls, 2 exhibition halls and many other informal performance venues.
- Barbican in figures. The final cost of building the Barbican Center in 1982 was £156 million, which would be £500 million in today’s money. Its total area is 20 acres and the total land area is 35 acres. The entire Barbican estate contains over 130,000 cubic meters of concrete, enough to build approximately 19 miles of a six-lane highway. The hall’s stage can accommodate 110 musicians in a full orchestra.
- Brutal architecture. The Barbican is one of the greatest examples of brutalism in the world. The term comes from the French word “brut” or “raw” and basically refers to the bare concrete nature of the brutalist building design. The style was extremely popular from the 1950s to the 1970s and was heavily used in government-owned or commissioned building designs. Well known to us in Poland to this day 😉
- The wonder of the world! The Barbican Center was declared “one of the modern wonders of the world” by Queen Elizabeth II when she opened it in 1982. In 2012, the arts centre celebrated its 30th anniversary. The entire investment is on the 2nd-degree list. As such, residents and other tenants must review the Barbican Registered Building Management Guidelines before making any changes to their property to ensure these changes are approved.
- Political games. With the growth of the suburbs in the 19th century and the bombing during World War I and II, many people moved out of the City of London to the point that the government considered closing the City of London Corporation. Investments such as the Barbican was intended to attract residents back to the City so that the Corporation would not cease to exist as a local government.
- Historical towers. The three residential towers are named Cromwell, Shakespeare and Lauderdale after Oliver Cromwell, William Shakespeare and the Earl of Lauderdale respectively. They are one of the tallest residential towers in London, each 123 meters high with 42 floors. London County Council had set planning requirements that each resident was to have a certain amount of space in their flat, so builders went up to meet the county’s requirements. At the time of their construction, the towers were the tallest residential buildings in Europe.
- You need a pub to feel at home! As befits the image of a complete model city (at least for a British concept), the original plans included a number of pubs. Eventually, the only pub under development was Crowders Well, which closed to become the Wood Street Bar & Restaurant.
- Barbican not for cars. The complex is also characterized by a complete separation of vehicle and pedestrian traffic throughout the area. This is achieved through the use of “high walkways” – walkways of various widths and shapes, usually 1 to 3 stories above the surrounding ground level. Most pedestrian traffic takes place on these main sidewalks, while roads and parking spaces are relegated to a lower level.
- Jungle: The Barbican Conservatory in London is a hidden gem featuring an impressive collection of exotic plants and trees. It’s a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city where visitors can relax and enjoy the natural beauty.
- If that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will! Not only that, interesting architecture is also history. I would say on a global scale. I hope I managed to get you interested in barbican. I’d love to read your opinion! Or would you like me to visit some other place in London?! Be sure to write in the comment!
Official Barbican Web: www.barbican.org.uk
Book tickets for the conservatory (free): here
Some of the photos you see here are available for purchase as prints in my shop.