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Architecture for Music: Barbican Centre

This is the Sunday Series, a peek of things in the art music world.

Music has a close bound with architecture for quite some time. Concert halls and opera houses are also the ones which effects the music and also effected by music. These structures are devoted to music, from within them we witness the grow of musical arts.

This series presents the beauty of the structure, in which music creativity flows abundantly.



Barbican Centre is located in the City of London, UK and serves as the largest performing arts center in Europe. This complex houses the Barbican Hall which is the home both of London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.


These are the arts venues and also facilities in the complex

  • Barbican Hall: capacity 1,949; home of the London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
  • Barbican Theatre: capacity 1,166
  • Pit: flexible 200-seat theatre venue
  • Art Gallery and The Curve:
  • Barbican Cinema – 3 screens: seating capacity: 288, 255 and 155
  • Informal performance spaces.
  • Restaurants: 3
  • Conference halls: 7
  • Trade exhibition halls: 2

~from wiki


This complex which was opened in 1982 was funded by the City of London Corporation, the third-largest funder of the arts in the United Kingdom (according to wikipedia). The complex also houses the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, one of the most prestigious arts school in the country.


The Barbican Hall’s acoustic has also been controversial: some praised it as attractively warm, but others found it too dry for large-scale orchestral performance.

In 1994, Chicago acoustician Larry Kirkegaard oversaw a £500,000 acoustic re-engineering of the hall “producing a perceptible improvement in echo control and sound absorption”, music critic Norman Lebrecht wrote in October 2000 – and returned in 2001 to rip out the stage canopy and drop adjustable acoustic reflectors, designed by Caruso St John, from the ceiling, as part of a £7.5 mn refurbishment of the hall. Art music magazine Gramophone still complained about “the relative dryness of the Barbican acoustic” in August 2007.



About mikebm (1339 Articles)
An arts journalist, a conductor, an educator, a young arts manager whose passion drove him to leave a multinational IT cooperation to study Arts Administration and Cultural Policy in London and went back to Indonesia to build the scene there.

1 Comment on Architecture for Music: Barbican Centre

  1. Hi! I’m the Community Manager of Ruba.com. We’re building a website to highlight some of the most interesting places travelers around the world have discovered. We’ve read hundreds of blogs about the UK, and we think that this post is awesome! We’d love to highlight excerpts from blogs like yours (assuming it’s OK with you of course) and to discuss other ways of tapping into your expertise if you are interested. I’m at [email protected].
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