Barbican Centre

London’s Iconic Barbican Centre Receives £25 Million Boost for Dynamic Renewal Initiative

The City of London Corporation has confirmed a £25 million investment to initiate the first phase of the Barbican Centre Renewal Programme, a strategic initiative designed to revitalise the iconic arts and conference venue.

This decision came after the City Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee gave their approval to use the funds to develop elements of a comprehensive long-term masterplan, conduct further consultations, and initiate essential systems and infrastructure improvements. These measures are projected to enhance the centre’s operational and environmental performance over the next two years.

The Barbican Renewal Programme is set to reimagine underused spaces within the centre for creative use, invest in existing venues and public spaces, and improve site navigation and technical capabilities. This move follows the launch of the City Corporation’s Destination City programme, aimed at creating a comprehensive leisure destination for local and international visitors, workers, and residents seven days a week.

The Barbican Centre, globally recognised as a Brutalist style icon and one of the UK’s finest post-war buildings, attracts nearly two million visitors annually. The centre is a vibrant hub for music, theatre, dance, visual arts, and cinema, besides being a hotspot for business events and international conferences.

The Renewal Programme seeks to preserve and invest in the Barbican Centre building, honoring its radical vision and design heritage, while simultaneously responding to future creative opportunities and challenges. Significant improvements will be made to the building’s environmental performance in line with the City Corporation’s Climate Action Strategy, aiming to achieve net zero carbon status in its operations by 2027.

The project will carefully respect the Grade II listed status of the complex and uphold the original architectural vision of the arts centre, which is now more than 40 years old.

The Barbican Renewal Programme has been consulting widely since the appointment of the award-winning design team led by Allies and Morrison, Asif Khan Studio, and Buro Happold in 2022. This process has involved gaining insights from audiences, artists, local communities, and the wider public to understand their expectations from the scheme.

Claire Spencer, Chief Executive Officer at the Barbican Centre, expressed her delight over the City Corporation’s vote of confidence in the Renewal Programme. She emphasized the need to conserve the extraordinary architectural heritage of the Barbican Centre and its potential to redefine what an arts centre should be in the twenty-first century.

The Barbican Centre is now set to explore additional funding sources for subsequent phases of the programme following the £25 million investment from the City Corporation. The City Corporation is one of the UK’s largest funders of heritage and cultural activities, investing over £130m every year in a variety of world-class cultural and heritage institutions.

Photo Credit: Max Colson

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