Exploring London’s Largest City Conservatory In My Great-Aunt’s Dress
The view that greets you as you walk in the door to The Conservatory at the Barbican is one of unbounded verdant walls and climbing trellises, huge palm leaves and a sweet, cool smell in the misty air… Can you believe that all of this is hidden on the 4th floor of London’s famous performance and events centre right in the middle of the city?
There’s a turtle in the picture above!
Fairy lights and waterfalls, gold and cream flashes of fish in the pond and plants sprawling from every conceivable surface – this is The Conservatory at the Barbican.
We wandered in to revel in this impressive, calm garden before a performance of St. John’s Passion by the Academy of Ancient Music. It really heightens your senses being around so many pleasant nature sounds and scents before heading into the concert hall.
Like the Barbican itself, the Conservatory is a bold example of Brutalist architecture, built in an area that suffered badly from bombing in World War II. Its large, stark grey building with hard lines and many entrances caused it to be voted London’s Ugliest Building in 2003!
But Brutalist architecture works well when housing plants and water features. It highlights their beauty and softness in contrast, drawing our eye and making us appreciate them all the more.
I highly recommend meandering up here if you visit the Barbican – they do cinema, art installations, concerts, and are home to three scrumptious restaurants and bars. Their Martini Bar and Osteria Restaurant are not to be missed! I recommend the Cucumbellini from their cocktail menu…