Barbican: the critics' verdict



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It‘s the largest multi-arts centre in Europe, and has hosted some of the most ambitious cultural events the capital has ever seen – yet the Barbican still polarises opinion like no other institution. We invited our critics and other leading names to evaluate its contribution to the arts and debate the merits of a true London icon

  • Barbican: the critics' verdict

    The concert hall at the Barbican

  • What's on at the Barbican Centre this week

    There is nothing like the Barbican Estate in scale, intelligence, ingenuity and quality says architecture and design critic Jonathan Glancey

    Art editor Ossian Ward on how the Barbican has overcome its obstacles to achieve something remarkable

    The Barbican is both practical and cultural, a rare mix in Britains artistic life argues classical editor Martin Hoyle

    Fortunately dance is a now major strand on the Barbican's line-up says dance editor Allen Robertson

    Bravely avoiding the catch of new releases, the Barbican treads a more varied and inspired path says film editor Dave Calhoun

    Despite the complete withdrawal of the RSC, the resilient Barbican has quickly recovered says theatre editor Jane Edwardes

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Users say

Judith Farncombe
Judith Farncombe

I read this article with interest and noted that Mr Glancey did not do his research - Chamberlin, Powell and Bon had a fourth partner; my father, Charles B Greenberg. He, too, was heavily involved in the Barbican. It took over his life from 1960 until he retired from active architecture practice. If Mr Glancey lived in one of the houses on the Barbican site he was in something my father designed. My father's involvement in the firm as a partner is often overlooked because he chose not to have his name added to the name of the firm - he maintained that Chamberlin, Powell, Bon and Greenberg did not have quite the same ring to it that the original name of the firm did. This results in what Mr Glancey did - my father's invisibility. To say that the firm produced nothing much except Barbican is also incorrect. Towards the end of Barbican's building my father opened a branch of the firm in Honiton, Devon. There they produced a few developments. If Mr Glancey ever wants to increase his knowledge of what my father did in relation to Barbican and other Chamberlin Powell and Bon developments in the South West please get in touch. Regards, Judith Farncombe nee Greenberg