Barbican Centre at 40: how an international arts venue took shape

Nicholas Kenyon

The pioneering scheme is celebrating its 40th birthday. Former managing director Nicholas Kenyon explains how the initial plans for a residential development evolved

One of the key mysteries of the Barbican Centre is why it ended up with its most important arts venues – the concert hall and the theatre – buried underground in the pioneering development. The story is instructive because, like many innovative schemes, the Barbican evolved a great deal in the long course of its design. But its final shape enabled the centre to become an arts venue of international standing and reputation.

This is premium content. 

Only logged in subscribers have access to it.

Login or SUBSCRIBE to view this story

Gated access promo

Existing subscriber? LOGIN

A subscription to Building Design will provide:

  • Unlimited architecture news from around the UK
  • Reviews of the latest buildings from all corners of the world
  • Full access to all our online archives
  • PLUS you will receive a digital copy of WA100 worth over £45.

Subscribe now for unlimited access.

Alternatively REGISTER for free access on selected stories and sign up for email alerts