The Barbican Conservatory
On returning to the Urban Utopia (or Brutalist hell depending on your perception lol ) known as The Barbican, Wolfie had originally intended to indulge in morning of culture in the exhibition centres. Unfortunately culture proved to be extremely expensive and Wolfie went off the idea pretty quickly on this occasion! Sorry to disappoint the cultured reader who was hoping for a wonderfully cultural and classy post…it definitely isn’t that
However! I did discover The Barbican Conservatory So hopefully this will appeal to the nature-orientated reader….bearing in mind this was right in the middle of central London surrounded by the country’s finest Brutalist architecture it was a breath of fresh air,a green oasis and well worth a visit should you find yourselves in this particular spot in the universe!
(All photos in this post Copyright Europa’s Icewolf 2016)
The Song of the Ages
The next time you hear the wolves howl
Take a moment to let your heart sing along with them –
For it is the song of the wild
That has been sung through the ages
Beyond the Catacombs
Vaults and Catacoombs and the Champagne Eurostar Terminal!!!
As you probably won’t recall seeing as we haven’t visited the disused Eurostar station at London Waterloo for some time now, Wolfie was not at all successful in attempting to breach security and find a way into the forbidden realms of Waterloo International…consequently Wolfie went for a walk…under the happy delusion this might act as a useful distraction from the frustrations of the day. That didn’t actually work terribly well either but the day did take some interesting turns non-the-less.
First stop after wandering round the outside areas eyeing up the building site that appeared to be the top scene around that part of the station and some pretty fearsome looking security, involved a scenic stroll along the River Thames….suitably non-distracting and Wolfie naturally graduated back towards Waterloo and found herself padding into the Leake Street tunnel under or vaguely under – not entirely sure about that little detail, where the graffiti festival thingy had taken place deep in the catacoombs….as mentioned in a previous post…probably showing in the related posts section at the end of this post…or not as the case maybe.
It was somewhat quieter on this occasion and business as usual…new graffiti had sprouted up to cover much of the previous, as is the way with graffiti matters.
Wolfie was however curious about the hole in the tunnel wall… apparently known as “The Vault.” Yes….granted it says “Gallery….Kitchen….” but no kitchen was to be found!
Naturally an exploration was necessary….
That done what else was there to do in the absence of access to Waterloo’s disused Eurostar station but to jump on the Tube and go investigate the new and very much in-use new Eurostar Station at Kings Cross-St Pancreas!
Now at this point there is always the curious question of….where do those escalator stairs lead to! They are going down…to lower levels…those lower levels are still functioning…Wolfie would like to have a look!! Trouble is Wolfie couldn’t smash through the ground to ceiling glass even for photos…so not much help taking mind off Waterloo’s inaccessible zones So! maybe we should go for the apocalyptic look just to remind ourselves this whole exercise is really about Waterloo Eurostar….
Well that was interesting wasn’t it?
Yes…well…all very interesting….and very posh compared to Waterloo…very nice Eurostar trains….and a very fancy shopping area….and some very large clocks! Why two clocks in one place anyway!! Still…I have it on good authority St Pancreas International does not have anywhere near the quantity of shops or space to relax in in the Eurostar section, as apparently there was at Waterloo International :) Good!! Not that I’ve ever found a way into the lower levels to check that out but…..!!
But there’s always another time!
“Sirens were sounded at the same moment as the first explosion at the reactor, in the early hours of 26 April 1986.
The meltdown at Chernobyl Nuclear Plant was the worst nuclear disaster in history.”
“Chernobyl is not a historical event in Ukraine but a living reality for an unquantifiable number of people.” –Tom Burridge, Chernobyl
“We honour those who lost their health and require a special attention from the government and society,” he said in a speech in Chernobyl. “It’s with an everlasting pain in our hearts that we remember those who lost their lives to fight nuclear death.” – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
“The magnitude of the tragedy could have been immeasurably larger if it were not for the incomparable bravery and self-sacrifice of fire fighters, military personnel, experts and medics who honourably fulfilled their citizen’s duty. Many of them sacrificed themselves to save others.” – Russian President Vladimir Putin
The UK’s Leading International Arts Centre
The Barbican – Urban Utopia or Brutalist Hell? – Love it or Hate it!
“The Barbican Centre, a vast concrete housing complex of 2,000 flats and a leading arts complex, is a prime example of brutalist architecture, softened a little by time and rectangular ponds of friendly resident ducks. The lakeside terrace and adjoining café are good spots to take a rest from visiting the art gallery, cinema, theatre, concert hall or library within the complex. The art gallery on the third floor stages exhibitions on design, architecture and pop culture, while on the ground floor, the Curve is a free exhibition space for specially commissioned works and contemporary art.” – (timeout.com)
The Barbican Centre was designed by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon with the aim of transforming the devastated WW2 bombing location where it is situated into an urban utopia. Built amongst the long-previously designed system of striking brutalist buildings, the Barbican’s brutalist exterior is created with “enough concrete to make 19 miles of six-lane motorway: 130,000 cubic metres which was textured by hand with electric drills. Presumably because the architects hated the neighbours.” (timeout.com)
Considered one of the most important 20th century architectural accomplishments it was opened in 1982 by The Queen who referred to it as ‘one of the modern wonders of the world.’
In September 2001, the Barbican Centre complex was designated a site of special architectural interest and given Grade II listed building status. In September 2003 an opinion poll voted it “London’s ugliest building” for its Brutalist styling.
The Barbican is not only one of London’s greatest illustrations of Brutalist architecture but also Europe’s largest multi-purpose performing arts and conference venue. From when it first opened it has housed the London Symphony Orchestra and in 2013 became the Royal Shakespeare Company’s London base.
NB: To access the Barbican Centre required a long walk through the Barbican Housing Complex to reach it. It was also a freezing cold day and Icewolf’s paws were rapidly developing frostbite of the photo-snapping claw
Therefore any photos of the inside of the Barbican Arts Centre (where permitted, obviously…after all anyone who knows Icewolf knows Icewolf never ventures anywhere Icewolf is not supposed to venture….) will not be available until a second visit can happen, hopefully when it is considerably warmer! However since the main purpose of this first visit was to see the ‘brutalist architecture’ for myself, I believe the mission was accomplished
(Click photos to enlarge – All photos: Copyright Europa’s Icewolf 2016)