The Barbican, that twentieth century utopian vision, and one of the most documented housing projects in the world, is taking us for an intimate tour. A select group of its residence are letting us glimpse into their homes and hear their thoughts – all of which is documented in an intriguing new book Residents: Inside the Iconic Barbican Estate.
Here photographer Anton Rodriguez – himself a resident – has captured the interiors of 22 homes for an alternative view of this iconic brutalist estate. We visit the homes of an interesting collection of people, mainly creatives, who have made the Barbican their home, and hear their stories, and their interactions with a building that feels so pivotal to their lives.
This Grade II listed mixed-use residential and arts complex is a monument to the highpoint of modernism – to a time when London urban planners had more compelling visions than simply building luxury apartments for the elite. Constructed in the 1960s and 70s in an inner city area once devastated by World War II bombings, the Barbican was conceived as an urban village of sorts to help form strong communities.
As a piece of architecture, it is a fascinating contrast of hard and soft. The thick slabs of vertical and horizontal concrete encourage a mesmerising graphical play of light, artfully captured by Rodriguez’s lens in the book.
Today over half the world’s population live in cities, predicted to grow to some 75 per cent by 2050 as rural residents are forced to flock to city centres for work. As urban growth explodes, the Barbican vision could not be more relevant.