London is jam-packed full of amazing venues, galleries and museums. Across the city, tourists and guests at the London City Suites Barbican will find buildings and architectural feats that reflect London’s dedication to arts and culture in all its forms. From the Tate Galleries on the bank of the River Thames to the Museum Row in South Kensington, London never pulls its punches when it comes to culture.
Guests in East London Montcalm hotels can travel across the city, searching for the many attractions, but might be surprised to know that the best is just a stone’s throw away. With so much scattered across London, it might be easy to forget that the best is right on your doorstep in the guise of the Barbican Centre. This multimedia exhibition space, performance venue and educational institution is one of the most visited and revered in the city. Below you can find out why, and some of the interesting things that make the Barbican Centre such a special event space.
The Barbican Centre is located in East London and is easily reachable from both Barbican on the Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan Lines and Moorgate on the Northern Line. It’s no surprise that there’s a station named after it, the Barbican Centre is the largest performance venue in Europe, and brings in a range of international music, theatre, art and films throughout its yearly season.
Opened in 1982, the Barbican Centre was finally completed long after the surrounding Barbican Estate had been. Whilst this might be the case, the Barbican Centre had been in development for years before and has further grown since refurbishments in 1995 and cosmetic improvements between 2005 and 2006. Since 2001, the Barbican Centre has been Grade II listed.
The Barbican Centre is located on Silk Street and is close to the historic Bank of England and the East End of London. With ample Barbican Centre parking and plenty of bus routes, the Barbican Centre is easily reachable from the city centre and from the eastbound outer boroughs such as Dalston, Hackney and the nearby Shoreditch.
Types of venue
The Barbican venue is focused on all forms of art and performance. This has meant that over its 35 years of existence, it has developed over 17 performance and exhibition spaces as well as conference halls and even a library. These include the 200 seater Pit, 1156 seated Barbican Theatre, 1943 seated Barbican Hall and the newly opened free exhibition space The Curve as well as three separate and award winning London City restaurants.
From neo-classical composers like Phillip Glass to being the home of the BBC and London Symphony Orchestras, the music output of the Barbican Centre is second to none. With contemporary musicians playing international, often forward-thinking popular music, next year sees the likes of These New Puritans create multimedia performances out of their sweeping, atmospheric soundscapes.
From Shakespeare Classics from the Royal Shakespeare Company to international performances from world-renowned theatre-makers, the broad array of theatre in the Barbican allows for an eclectic programme. Next years Barbican programme sees Ivo Van Hove directing a stage version of Death in Venice, and also sees the likes of Tenessee Williams classic The Glass Menagerie come to the stage.
From Q&A sessions with international and independent filmmakers to daily showings of the latest blockbusters, the cinema located to the side of the main Barbican complex is an independent cinema that really makes an impact. Next year sees a retrospective of feminist filmmakers Charlotte Ackerman and Laurie Anderson, analysing their melding of the personal and the political. The cinema of the Barbican Centre then is not just your everyday multiplex, but a stunning mix of academia, politics and surefire entertainment.
The art gallery at the Barbican is comprised of one ticketed art exhibition space and The Curve, a multimedia, free to visit public gallery space that hosts Barbican commissioned works from across the world. Named after the curved walls and narrow walkway it’s located in, the Curve is one of the most exciting new additions to the Barbican.
Interesting facts about the Barbican Centre
With its plethora of galleries and art pieces, the Barbican Centre has maintained its reputation throughout the last three and a half decades. This doesn’t come without some major planning, and the story of the Barbican spans far further than its status as a worldwide art gallery. Here are just some of the amazing facts surrounding this incredible institution.
When the Barbican Centre was announced and the architectural team of Peter Chamberlin, Geoffrey Powell and Christoph Bon were tasked with coming up with a design, the trio agreed to all compete for the winning design but help the winner build if they lost. This teamwork amalgamated in a structure thriving with multi-level, multi-walkway ziggurats that have always split critical opinion, but always stood out from the crowd.
Largest Performance Venue in Europe
Though it is not the biggest capacity venue in Europe, the Barbican Centre’s sheer scale and its array of striking venues have meant that the Barbican Centre is currently the largest of its kind in Europe. This is also helped by the spaciousness in its halls, making way for libraries, tours and several bars and seating areas.
The Barbican Centre is surrounded by walkways and terraces, giving guests a chance to view the squares and estates surrounding the venue. With its multiple entrances, the Barbican Centre’s exterior has even been painted with lines to ensure that members of the public don’t get lost in the labyrinth.
2000 Species of tropical plants
One unique feature of the Barbican Centre is the terrace based Barbican Conservatory. This greenhouse is open throughout the week and weekend afternoons and gives visitors a chance to walk among a much needed dash of greenery. With 2000 different plant species coming from all across the world, this conservatory and glasshouse is one of the most densely populated and numerous in species in the world.