Golden Lane and Barbican Architecture Walking Tour with Open City Friends - Saturday 2nd December 2023 11am

Golden Lane and Barbican Architecture Walking Tour with Open City Friends - Saturday 2nd December 2023 11am

Regular price £0.00
Tax included.

Join Open City Friends for a walking tour exploring London’s iconic Golden Lane and Barbican estates. 

The walk — led by Jessica Barker-Wren — will explore the Golden Lane and Barbican estates which were designed by architects Chamberlin, Powell & Bon and have witnessed a rollercoaster ride of changing public opinion over the decades.

Despite moments of controversy, the Barbican is now an internationally celebrated design icon and popular cultural destination. This tour will explore the unique and enigmatic architectural ingredients that draw people in again and again to explore this thought-provoking concrete megastructure. 

Starting at the Barbican’s older sibling -- the Golden Lane estate -- this walk will explore the history of the two neighbouring landmark developments and place their architecture within the wider 20th Century context. At the Barbican itself, by seeking out some of the lesser known nooks and corners within the estate we will unpick its design and details; and by exploring the light and shade, the under and over, the hard and the soft, consider what it is that makes this place an architectural masterpiece.

It will also delve into the contributions of politicians and planners who sought to promote a new kind of inner city living — one which emphatically rejected the anti-urban ideals of the bucolic and suburban Garden City movement. 

Before it was devastated by wartime bombing, this area had been dominated by warehouses and industrial premises. From 1952 to 1982, Chamberlin, Powell & Bon single-handedly transformed the City of London’s outer edge into a radical new neighbourhood providing 6,513 dwellings spread over an area totalling 17 hectares.

In their scale and ambition the two estates together rank among the foremost achievements of postwar planning and architecture anywhere in the world. 

The walk ends near the Barbican Centre — the international arts complex that lies at the heart of the Barbican Estate, looking across the artificial lake towards the medieval church of St Giles Cripplegate and remnants of the ancient City Wall.

This new tour follows the recent designation of the Golden Lane and Barbican estates as the City’s latest ‘Conservation Area’ in recognition of their architectural importance. While the Barbican still divides opinion, this tour will ask whether the ingenuity and generosity of its landscapes could still serve as a model for future urban housing.

Providing a fun way for enthusiastic urbanists to explore the city this walking tour is part of a new series responding to the core themes of the Open House festival and wider Open City programme.

Meet: Outside The Shakespeare pub on the corner of Fann Street, 2 Goswell Rd EC1M 7AA.

Duration: 2hrs

Distance: 1.7 km approx

Tour end: near the Barbican Centre.

Access: Step free access is possible for most of the route with lift access available for those that may need it to reach the Barbican Highwalk

Please note this walking tour is for Core and Keystone Friends of Open City only