26 July 2016 | 13 °C

26 February 2009 | By: M@

In Pictures: Secret Bits Of The Barbican

In Pictures: Secret Bits Of The Barbican

Frobisher Crescent is, by any standards, a sizeable chunk of a building. Built in 1982 as part of the vast and baffling Barbican Estate, the Crescent was originally intended as a residential development. But the floors were never fitted out for living, and have passed the last three decades as admin offices for the Barbican Arts Centre and part of the City of London Business School.

Things are about to change. After the Business School moved out a few years back, developers United House gained permission to convert the top three floors of the Grade II listed block into residential space. The scheme will create 69 new apartments, from studios to three-bedroom penthouses. Prices have yet to be set, but the larger flats would likely set you back a few million pounds. If that's out of your price range, at least you'll be able to enjoy the Sculpture Court at the base of the development, which will finally live up to its name when new artwork is installed.

Londonist was lucky enough to get a site tour earlier this week, along with our friend IanVisits. Click through the thumbnail gallery for more details of the development.


I did my post-graduate studies on the top floor of the crescent - there was a very unpleasant canteen and a goldfish bowl effect that made you feel totally exposed wherever you were on the curve. Here's hoping the architects make it habitable... and sorry to whoever gets the former canteen. All those cigarette butts and crisps mashed into the cracks between the floor tiles... that was me.

Phil Gyford

Regarding the seventh photo: "A gentle reminder to construction workers that the Barbican auditorium is directly below. Work has to be timed to not interfere with performances."

Although the auditorium is below I imagine this sign is more to do with not disturbing the Barbican's residents. I doubt anyone is in the auditorium before 9am to be disturbed.

Also, regarding "the larger flats would likely set you back a few million pounds." You think? The three and four bedroom flats in the Barbican's towers (with much better views than Frobisher Crescent) reached a peak of about £1 million so I doubt a three bedroom flat there will fetch "a few million pounds" especially given the direction of prices these days.


Phil, you're probably right about the 9am thing. The builders do have to be careful about vibrations disturbing performances, but probably not that early.

With regards to price -that comes straight from the horses' mouths. Although they haven't set prices, they're reckoning on Barbican property averaging £1000 per sq foot and some flats are pushing 2000 sq ft.

Phil Gyford

The cynical part of me would say that the developers have an interest in talking up the value of the properties. The flats do sound big, but "a few million pounds" still sounds optimistic.

Looking at the six three or four bedroom tower flats for sale at Frank Harris and Hamilton Brooks at the moment, they range from 1142 to 1272 square feet, with asking prices from £850,000 to £1,050,000, for an average of £770.21 per square foot. So the developers are obviously inflating things somewhat (even ignoring the state of the market).

Most of the tower flats for sale look pretty nice inside so the Frobisher Crescent ones would, I imagine, need some pretty fancy fittings to get much above £1.5 million, never mind more, given they lack the views and (I assume) balcony space of the tower flats.

It's still silly money isn't it!