The Barbican Centre Is Set To Receive A Fresh £150 Million Makeover

A glow up for the Barbican is on the cards!

You all know about (and love) the Barbican. Whether you’re off to an opera, relaxing by the lakeside terrace, or working at their library, it’s one of the top – and most beautiful – social hubs London has on offer.

And now, the beloved landmark is receiving a new £150 million makeover, with five architects competing for the honour of carrying out the work. It is hoped that the the renewal to the Barbican could help London to meet its climate targets, on top of restoring the “feeling of the original architectural vision”.

Speaking the Architects’ Journal, Tom Sleigh said: “The climate action strategy requires us to progressively decarbonise and the single biggest part of the estate is the Barbican so it is a huge opportunity to deliver on those goals.”

The design will aim to bring the brutalist building into the 21st century while keeping its original feeling, by making it more environmentally friendly and easier to navigate.

The Barbican’s design brief has called for a modernisation of the 40-year old brutalist complex, saying: “There’s a pressing need to make changes to the Barbican building so that it continues to meet the needs of 21st-century artists, audiences and communities.

“We’re looking for a team that can develop design solutions that will preserve and respect the complex’s original architectural vision and heritage, while adapting it to respond to the creative opportunities and urgent challenges of today’s world.”

A final decision on the winning design is expected to be made in April, with some big names in the running. It includes Bjarke Ingals, designer of Google’s US HQ, as well David Adjaye, the designer of the Holocaust memorial outside the Houses of Parliament.

Also in the running are Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who also designed the initial Centre for Music on the Museum of London that was eventually cancelled last year. BIG with Avanti Architects and POoR Collective, and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios with Bureau de Change, Schulze & Grassov and New York practice Thinc make up the shortlist.

Each of the shortlisted groups are to receive £20,000 to draw up their proposed new designs.

The Barbican Centre was originally dreamt up as a sign of post-war regeneration, as it was built on a site that was bombed during WWII. It holds multiple theatres, two art galleries, two cinemas, a concert hall and a stunning “indoor rainforest” conservatory.