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In Pictures: Secret Bits Of The Barbican

M@
By M@ Last edited 94 months ago
In Pictures: Secret Bits Of The Barbican
One of the top floor studio apartments begins to take shape. Note the arched roof. The beams near the ceiling will support a mezzanine level of decking for extra space. Photo by M@.
One of the top floor studio apartments begins to take shape. Note the arched roof. The beams near the ceiling will support a mezzanine level of decking for extra space. Photo by M@.
The multi-million pound view from the penthouse balcony. Photo by M@.
The multi-million pound view from the penthouse balcony. Photo by M@.
A gentle reminder to construction workers that the Barbican auditorium is directly below. Work has to be timed to not interfere with performances. Photo by M@
A gentle reminder to construction workers that the Barbican auditorium is directly below. Work has to be timed to not interfere with performances. Photo by M@
View from the top. There's something of a Coliseum feel from this vantage. The crescent faces to the south, to maximise sunlight. Photo by Natalie Ujuk.
View from the top. There's something of a Coliseum feel from this vantage. The crescent faces to the south, to maximise sunlight. Photo by Natalie Ujuk.
Looking out into the main corridor from one of the apartments. Still a lot of work to do.
Looking out into the main corridor from one of the apartments. Still a lot of work to do.
A unique view of the Barbican Arts Centre roof level. Photo by Natalie Ujuk.
A unique view of the Barbican Arts Centre roof level. Photo by Natalie Ujuk.
A close-up of the shutters. Photo by Natalie Ujuk.
A close-up of the shutters. Photo by Natalie Ujuk.
From below, newly fitted shutters help soften the harsh brutalistic lines of Frobisher Crescent. Photo by Paul Cox.
From below, newly fitted shutters help soften the harsh brutalistic lines of Frobisher Crescent. Photo by Paul Cox.
The Crescent from above. Image from United House Developments.
The Crescent from above. Image from United House Developments.
The view from Frobisher Crescent at night. Image from United House Developments .
The view from Frobisher Crescent at night. Image from United House Developments .

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.

Last Updated 26 February 2009

Hazel

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.

M@

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!