The Barbican Estate, built during the 1960s and the 1970s in the City of London, in an area once devastated by World War II bombings, is a prominent example of British brutalist architecture and is Grade II listed. Brutalism is a movement in architecture that flourished from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, descending from the modernist architectural movement of the early 20th century. The term originates from the French word for “raw” in the term used by Le Corbusier to describe his choice of material béton brut (raw concrete).
I like the rugged, fortress-like character of the buildings and the graphical quality of their design. Simple and functional, the complex provides a lot of inspiration for abstract images. At the same time it reminds me of the communist architecture that I grew up in. Impersonal housing estates, a concrete maze of high rise blocks of flats called “panelák”; till today towering above Czech and Slovak towns, like a communist stigma. Perhaps I shouldn’t like it so much. Perhaps it is the reason why I do quite like it, as a reminder of my other life. It makes me feel grateful for the life I have now, which couldn’t be further away from the past.