I walk through the Barbican most days. To begin with I disliked it. But after a while it began to grow on me. Eventually I learned to love it. The Barbican estate was built on an area of central London that was heavily bombed during the war. It was called the Barbican because of its close proximity to London Wall, a barbican being an outpost or gateway.
Built in the 1960s in the brutalist style, bare concrete everywhere, many Londoners despise it. But over the years it has softened. There is greenery everywhere, running water, wildlife even. Last week I saw a heron happily fishing whilst being overlooked by 2000 apartments.
The flats aren’t cheap, running to $1m or more a pop. But you do get several cinemas, concert halls, cafes and restaurants, all within 5 minutes walk of St Pauls. I eat there in one of the cheaper cafes 2 or 3 times a week, in Searcy’s restaurant when I entertain on business, catch the odd movie or concert. I’m looking forward to seeing Laurie Anderson there next week. In many ways it’s an ideal central London location. If I wanted to live in an apartment, that’s where I’d be looking.