Discovering the Barbican

I am not, it must be said, a connoisseur of Brutalist architecture. There are buildings of the style I admire, there are some that do nothing for me, and there are yet more that I barely even notice.

The Barbican Estate in London, perhaps remarkably, falls into the latter category. I have walked past it, used its Tube station - apparently never wondering for what it is named! - and surely heard mention of the Barbican Centre, but never had cause to visit it.

All of that changed when my friend Katie - a talented illustrator and committed bibliophile - allowed me to borrow Residents: Inside the Iconic Barbican Estate. Photographer Anton Rodriguez, a Barbican resident, captures the lives of his neighbours and shines a spotlight on the details that make the dwelling types within the estate special.

Inspired by the portrait of an apparent utopia - an architectural vision realised in its entirety, and somewhere that creativity and inspiration continues to flourish - I vowed to visit the Estate next time I was in London. That opportunity arose at the end of June 2017.

Armed - at last! - with an understanding and appreciation of what the Barbican Estate represents, I spent the afternoon visiting an exhibition, browsing the shop and eating on the lakeside. I also let my amateur photographic skills capture the design features that caught my attention and inspired me.