Wednesday, April 13, 2016

they paved paradise, and put up...

...a paradise.

Brutalist architecture is called so for a reason. Distressed textures, the muddy colour of raw concrete and the stark lines of mid-20th-century* design exemplified this style. Many condemned it (and still do!) as ugly and intrusive.

The Barbican Estate, we feel, knows how to strike the right balance.

We've written about the green heart and surprising variety of the Barbican Centre before. Its designers and caretakers cannily softened the hard lines of the architecture by filling the spaces between with water and green life, making it especially attractive on a sunny day.

The algae in the lake terrace turn a gorgeous deep colour that we can only describe as 'emerald'. Some might find it unpleasant but we love the way it offsets the red brick and grey concrete - and it's nutritious to the many species that make the terrace home.

Surrounding the Barbican Centre is the Barbican Complex: a mix of residences, offices and institutions that form a network of buildings around some very pretty gardens.

Rhythms repeat endlessly in symmetry, contrasting with the organic disorder of natural forms.

Stone and brick mingle with water and flowering plants, making this seemingly forbidding area a pleasure to linger in on a bright spring day.

wonder | wander | women appreciate the dichotomy of urban living, and we're so grateful to find pockets of harmony like this in our bustling city. More of this gentle 'brutalism' might make even the most crowded neighbourhood a better place to live.

*We had to add in the '20th', as we are currently in a whole new century from the one we grew up in. Time flies! 

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