The Barbican Centre, Europe's largest multi arts and conference venue, has been made a Grade II listed building. Having been granted listed status, the Barbican is now associated with some of London's greatest pre and post-war architecture.
Tessa Blackstone, the Minister for the Arts, said: "The Barbican estate is of special architectural interest for its scale, its plan, cohesion and the ambition of the project."
The Barbican Centre is built on a 35-acre residential estate, in the heart of Cityside, known as the Barbican. The area was bombed and completely destroyed in 1940, and it was not until 1955 that the first proposals for its redevelopment were submitted. The London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Shakespeare Company became part of the project in the mid 60's. Construction work began in 1971, and the Barbican officially opened by HM the Queen in March of 1982, unveiling a mix of high-rise apartments, two theatres, three cinemas, a library and an art gallery.
The listings process for Britain's architectural treasures was initiated during the last Parliament, and has been an ongoing project since 1995. Although the listed register has previously been dominated by classical architecture and stately homes, post-war buildings such as the Barbican are well received to the esteemed status.
As the Barbican Centre moves into the 21st century, and prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2002, ambitious new plans are emerging for its complete refurbishment and improvement. —by Theatrenow