Barbican Art Gallery

London. 2003

  • Project Details
  • Completion: 2003
  • Cost: £1.5 Million
  • Clients: City of London Corporation

Involving a series of invisible mending operations, the Barbican Art Gallery project is part of a continuing story of upgrading and uplifting the imposing Barbican Arts Centre. The centre’s original art gallery – a relic of utopian 1960s cross-cultural thinking – was a double-level open plan exhibition space in an open plan building; therefore fatally compromised as a place for displaying art to modern museum standards. While restoring key elements of the original architecture, the project resolves the detrimental aspects of the gallery’s original relationship to its surroundings, creating an expanded, independent space through the demolition of a 17-tonne redundant concrete stair and the filling in of the void to the foyers below. The twin double-height spaces at the lower gallery level are reinstated, a white terrazzo floor laid over the original dark-patterned brickwork and 4.5m high display walls added to the perimeter to give the gallery practical hanging space while concealing densely-packed climate control equipment. Working with the muscular fabric rather than against it, the interventions restore the original aesthetics wherever possible.

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