Barbican Center - London visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'Barbican Center' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from Greater London.
"The Barbican in London is Europe's largest multi-arts and conference venue presenting a year-round programme of art, music, film and theatre."
The Barbican Centre (or The Barbican as it is referred to locally) is indeed vast. Under one roof here you will find one concert hall, two theatres, three cinemas, two art galleries, one conservatory, one public library, three restaurants, numerous private function rooms, conference suites, two exhibition halls and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. The Barbican is open 363 days a year and offers a vast array of visual and performing arts. It would almost be quicker to list the types of material that is not shown at the Barbican Centre than to list what is.
The site upon which the Barbican is built was heavily bombed during WWII, and after many years with nothing much happening, the City of London decided to build an arts complex as a gift to the nation. The City of London funded the project, it cost £161 million to build, and the Barbican Centre finally opened in 1982. The City of London still continues to manage the building.
Whilst the architecture was visionary in it's day, the Barbican Centre is in fact a very complex construction of interlocking stairwells, open spaces and performance areas. It is notoriously difficult to find one's way around, being something of a concrete labyrinth, and numerous efforts have been made since the construction to simplify the layout inside. This resulted in the Barbican Centre being awarded the dubious honour of voted "London's ugliest building" in a poll run by the BBC in September 2003.
Even getting to the main entrances is a challenge, one is buried in a tunnel at the back of the building, while the other winds its way up and down passages from the Barbican Tube. This is made somewhat easier by the yellow line that has been painted on the floor, so visiting the Barbican Center has become an exercise of 'Follow the Yellow Line'. If you can find them, there are some lovely terraces beside fountains on which you can relax before entering the labyrinth of the Barbican once again.
The Barbican Centre is currently the home of the London Symphony Orchestra and was, until recently, the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company which has now moved to the Globe Theatre near to the Tate Modern. The Museum of London is close to the Barbican Centre, as is St. Paul's Cathedral.
TRAVEL DIRECTIONS AND GETTING THERE
Tube: Barbican (Circle, District, Hammersmith & City lines).