£25 million agreed to begin Barbican Centre building upgrades

The first stage of the Barbican Renewal Programme will focus on restoring and upgrading the art venue’s architectural heritage

New funding has been announced by the City of London Corporation, signalling the start of a major project to renovate renowned arts venue the Barbican.

£25 million has been agreed for the first phase of the Barbican Renewal Programme, which will focus on the restoration and care of the Grade II listed Barbican Centre building.

The project will “sensitively preserve the complex, respecting its Grade II listed status, and the original architectural vision of the arts centre, which is now more than 40 years old”, a statement from the City of London said.

It describes a celebration of “radical vision, and design heritage, while responding to the creative opportunities and challenges of the future.”

Plans include major improvements to the building environmental performance under the City Corporation’s Climate Action Strategy, which commits it to achieving net zero carbon status in its own operations by 2027.

The programme is also set to transform underused spaces within the centre for new creative use, and investment in its existing venues and public spaces which will “[improve] the welcome, wayfinding and technical capabilities at the site.”

A design team for the project, led by Allies and Morrison, Asif Khan Studio and Buro Happold, was appointed last year, which has since been consulting with audiences, artists, local communities, and the wider public.

Claire Spencer, Chief Executive Officer at the Barbican Centre said the committed funding was a “vote of confidence in the Barbican Renewal Programme from the City Corporation.”

“We now have a great opportunity to conserve the extraordinary architectural heritage of the Barbican, while reconsidering what an arts centre can and should be in the twenty-first century, and making sure we are open and welcoming to all.”

Following the £25 million funding from the City Corporation, the Barbican Centre will be seeking a range of additional funding sources for subsequent phases of the programme.