The City of London Corporation has agreed £25m (€29m/£32m) in funding to begin the first phase of the Barbican Renewal Programme to reinvigorate the arts venue.
Members of the City Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee approved the funding to develop the long-term plan, undertake further consultation, and deliver early systems and infrastructure work to boost the Barbican’s operational and environmental performance over the next couple of years.
The Barbican attracts almost two million visitors annually and showcases performers and artists in music, theatre, dance, the visual arts and cinema. It also supports emerging talent and the next generation of creatives.
The City Corporation is the Barbican Centre’s founder and principal funder.
The organisation invests over £130m in cultural activities in the UK each year, and manages a number of institutions such as Tower Bridge, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Guildhall Art Gallery, London Metropolitan Archives and Keats House. It also supports the London Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of London.
Major improvements are set to be made to the building’s environmental performance as part of The City Corporation’s climate action strategy, with a commitment to achieving net zero carbon status in its own operations by 2027.
The project will help preserve the complex in a sensitive manner, respecting its Grade II listed status and original architectural vision. The building is now more than 40 years old.
The Barbican Renewal Programme, led by architecture firms Allies and Morrison and Asif Khan, and engineering consultant Buro Happold.
“The Barbican is creatively buzzing and enthralling audiences as it contributes to the cultural and economic life of the City, the capital and beyond,” said chair of The City Corporation’s Barbican Centre Board, Tom Sleigh. “This initial investment, as part of the larger Renewal project, will start to reshape the arts centre to enable it to continue to deliver unforgettable experiences to millions.
“The Board recognises the need to care for this world-famous listed asset, and sympathetically intervene in the built environment, making it more open, inclusive and sustainable.”
The Barbican Centre will continue to seek additional funding for subsequent phases of the renewal programme.