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Barbican Centre

Get close to miles of concrete covering London's famed Brutalist landmark.


For London History Day the Barbican Centre will focus on an object integral to its Grade II listed building - concrete. The Barbican is one of London's best examples of Brutalist architecture, listed due to the coherence of design across its 35-acre site encompassing an arts centre and residential estate.
It was developed from designs by architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon as part of a utopian vision to transform an area of London left devastated by bombing during the Second World War.
Brutal or beautiful, the Barbican's unique architectural features still stand strong against the City of London skyline. Although, a closer look will reveal one of the more distinctive features of the Barbican Centre and Estate - the Barbican concrete.
Covering the Barbican inside and out, you'll notice a rough, textured effect decorating almost all the concrete surfaces. Incredibly, this effect was created using hand held pneumatic drills throughout construction. That's 130,000 cubic metres of concrete, enough to build over 19 miles of a six-lane motorway.
From the Barbican high walks to the Theatre stalls, the archetypal Barbican concrete follows you throughout your journey through the centre.

Workman chiselling pattern on concrete wall
Take a tour of the miles of concrete that make one of London’s most iconic Brutalist buildings, the Barbican Centre © Barbican Centre


Architecture tour

How much concrete was used? Why is it called 'Barbican'? Why is the lake so green…?

Follow a Barbican guide on a 90-minute walking tour as you explore the Barbican and discover the fascinating history behind the building of the Barbican Centre and the surrounding estate.

Walking along the Barbican highwalks, you'll learn more about the construction, design and influence of the estate, along with surprising and rarely seen sights and discoveries plus little known insights into this unique architectural endeavour.

From concrete styles to architectural motifs and insightful facts, our Architecture tour will leave you thinking and looking at the Barbican from a fresh perspective...

Standard: £12.50
Members, concessions and under 16s: £10
Groups: (10+): £11.50

Tickets and information for the tour


Barbican Centre
Silk Street

Open 9 am - 11 pm

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Graphic silhouette of Big Ben represented in green red and blue. Text reads: London History Day
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