£150m Barbican revamp to make it cultural centre

·1-min read
A general view of the Barbican Centre (Getty Images)
A general view of the Barbican Centre (Getty Images)

The Barbican Centre is planning a £150 million transformation as part of the City of London’s plan to remake itself into a wider cultural destination.

Designers and architects are being asked to submit proposals for the Grade II-listed brutalist building, which opened in 1982, that is home to three cinemas, two art galleries, a concert hall and several theatres.

It is home to a star-studded production of Anything Goes with Broadway star Sutton Foster and Robert Lindsay among the cast, while previous hits include a 2018 exhibition of work by US artist Jean-Michel Basquiat which was seen by more than 200,000 people, but is in need of what the City describes as “major renewal”.

Tom Sleigh, who chairs the Corporation’s Barbican Centre Board, said: “Since its opening almost four decades ago, the Barbican has become an internationally acclaimed multi-disciplinary venue for world-class arts, creative learning and community work.

“The Barbican project has been a huge success, but there have been dramatic changes in arts practice over the last 40 years, as well as the way in which civic buildings cater to their visitors and make themselves sustainable.”

The building, which is flanked by concrete walkways, can be inaccessible and work is already being done to reduce its environmental footprint.

The vision of a modernised Barbican is central to the city’s Culture Mile scheme with the arts centre joining the Museum of London, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the London Symphony Orchestra to create a new hub for the arts.

That plan was dealt a blow this year when the City cancelled its plans for a new £288 million concert hall.

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