THE RIVER MAGAZINE | Winter 2017 29 of the Barbican began in 1963. The Golden Lane Commission had been the result of Powell winning a competition in 1951 to design a residential development for residents, as part of the rejuvenation of the city of London. In fact, Chamberlin Powell and Bon all submitted designs separately, agreeing to form a partnership if any of them won. Powell’s design won and they set up Chamberlin Powell and Bon in 1952. It is clear they took their inspiration from the ruins of the ancient Roman walls, as well as their love and admiration for Le Corbusier, creating a brutalist fortress with walkways in the sky, a concrete statement, rising out of the aftermath of the devastation caused by the bomb damage of World War II. In the centre of this fortress is the Church of St Giles (part medieval) which quite miraculously survived the war having taken a direct hit. The church adds to the character (as well as performing an important role within the development), and is not only an architectural juxtaposition to the Brutalism; it is probably one of the last things one would expect to find within such a unique development. The sheer scale of the estate is often misunderstood. It amounts to 40 acres and many have no conception of the green spaces and lakes that are hidden within its walls. As the Barbican has matured the concrete has blended into its immediate surroundings becoming less austere. To many it is an iconic symbol of 1960’s brutalism; the sumptuous gardens and lakes a tranquil haven, far removed from the thriving pulsating financial capital of Europe, promoting a feeling of relaxation and tranquillity. This is perhaps the reason for the Barbican’s unrivalled popularity and the reason it has its own unique market conditions and loyal residents; many of whom have bought and sold numerous ‘types’of flats without ever leaving. To others it is a monstrosity and will always remain so. As Alex summed up, “It’s an example of the huge diversity within our unique and intriguing capital; just as Bermondsey and the Southbank have their peculiar charm and eccentricities, so does the city of London.“ WILLIAMS LYNCH 63 Bermondsey Street SE1 3XF t: 020 7940 9940 w: I’m looking forward to bringing together buyers and sellers on both sides of the river P h o T o B y D I R k I n G o F R A n k E