by Ellis M
The Barbican Centre was designed as part of a utopian vision to transform an area of London destroyed by the Blitz. A Grade II listed building; the Barbican took over a decade to build and was opened by Queenie in 1982. It was deemed a ‘modern wonder of the world’ and still to this day is one of London’s greatest landmarks for its recognisable Brutalist architecture, scale and ambition.
Within the Barbican estate, the Centre is surrounded by urban landscape, more brutalist architecture and the original 50 shades of grey, it is a true Brutal beauty. The Barbican offered some pro perfectly symmetrical Instagram users a chance to photograph the centre before the crowds of tourists, school groups and members of the public arrived. Top to bottom, side to side, wandering through a ghostly town of original architecture was captured under the #EmptyBarbican, search the tag for a peek inside the concrete jungle. (There’s something about large, empty, acoustic spaces, like a Barbican corridor, that makes you turn into a child and run the length and width of a seemingly unused space, just me?)
As I got off the station and made my way to the cinema I walked through a tunnel- there seems to be something exciting about this specific tunnel, it’s like the pathway to the Barbican, I’m sure there are plenty of reasons to walk through to get to the other side but to me it’s always just to go to the Barbican. On Silk Street sits the one half of the Barbican, with the other half on Beech Street, on this occasion I was at the cinemas on Silk Street. The Barbican has 3 cinemas, 2&3 in Benugo – café serving breakfast and drinks in the evening before your film. Cinema 1 is located in the Barbican Centre and within a labyrinth of stairs, concrete, slopes, people and counters; I wasn’t lost, but misdirected by myself more than once. If you want more than a filter coffee stay on the ground floor and grab all that you need there as Cinema 1 is located on the -2 Ground Floor and has a great cinema screen, with ushers standing at the two door entrances guiding you to enter the grand pink indulgent cinema theatre. Don’t worry, no bags or coats pushing you around whilst you and others get to your seats because there’s a cloakroom! With very efficient staff also.
The Barbican offers a unique cinematic experience, equipped to show almost any format of film, and a host to many small and large film festivals. Focus Film Festival 19th -22nd March, is all about people who do things differently and see the world in a distinctive, exciting way. Screened in Cinema 2+3 the smaller of Barbicans cinemas, no cloakroom but comes with a café!