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Barbican: Penthouse Over the City

ISBN: 978-0-470-85143-2
232 pages
July 2004
Barbican: Penthouse Over the City (0470851430) cover image
Penthouse Over the City sheds light on one of the most ambitious, and controversial, architectural undertakings of the last century; the Barbican Estate.

This leviathan project, with its futuristic vision and Byzantine intricacy included, in its final incarnation, the highest apartments in Europe, an underground railway and an arts centre composed of a theatre, concert hall, art galleries, cinemas and a library.

Its grand-scale conception included elements drawn from the rustication of Florentine palaces, the water and walkways of Venice, the elegant squares of Georgian London and the high-rise designs of the U.S.

Today, the cultural and architectural communities are re-assessing the site's significance in light of the achievement it represents. To its residents, Barbican living is an addiction. Its story spans decades or changing ideologies and tastes, and this book tells its full story for the first time.

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Introduction.

SECTION 1: RECONSTRUCTION.

London Replanned.

Reconstruction Plans Challenged.

SECTION 2: BARBICAN PLANNED.

First Plans for the Barbican – Catalyst and Reaction.

CP&B Plan for the Barbican Site.

CP&B 1956 Plan.

After 1956 and Before 1959.

SECTION 3: BARBICAN REGAINED.

The 1959 Plan and Later Changes.

The 1959 Arts Centre.

Modernism, Historicism and the Architects' Practice.

The Arts Centre.

Brutalism.

Conclusion.

Notes.

Bibliography.

Index.

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David Heathcote is a design writer and architectural historian. In 2002 he curated the 'Barbican: This was Tomorrow' exhibition at the Barbican. He is currently working on a book about the 1970s house.
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“…a timely revisiting of a building the complexity of which we are only just starting to appreciate…” (Building Design, July 04)

“…first complete story of the Barbican Estate…provides in-depth design info as well as a wider historical overview…” (FX Magazine, August 2004)

“…a fascinating study…” (Architects Journal, September 04)

“…packed with pictures, plans, models and discreet type telling the complicated tale of a landmark project’s post-war inception and influences” (Civic Focus, No. 47 Summer 2004)

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-and- Mathematics of Space: Architectural Design (US $45.00)

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