Barbican: Building the Brutal

Building the Brutal, a newly launched website and book, showcases never-before-seen photographs of the final construction of one of the most iconic brutalist buildings in the country. Photographer Peter Bloomfield was commissioned by Henry Wrong - the first Managing Director of the Barbican Centre - to photograph the completion of the Barbican and has recently gifted his entire collection of over 1,400 negatives to the arts centre.

The rediscovered archive reveals the ambition and scale of the construction of what The Queen called 'one of the modern wonders of the world'; from trees being craned into the conservatory to the hand-finishing of the structure’s famously textured concrete walls. Also captured are the first events ever held at the centre in 1982 and period stylings of both the interiors and staff.

The book, currently available for pre-sale and published in mid-March, features more than 70 colour and black & white images in addition to a foreword by Jane Allison, Barbican Head of Visual Arts, and a feature on Peter Bloomfield.

Highlights of the website include a section titled 'Then and Now' which allows you to follow the Barbican from its origin to the present day, sliding between Peter Bloomfield's photographs and current photographs by Benjamin Elwyn.


Building the Brutal, published by the Barbican: £15

Microsite: here

Book presale: here