Monday, February 15, 2010
Yesterday I was desperate to break the winter spell, and I thought I would visit the Barbican conservatory. My trip to the Brazilian rain forest was unsuccessful, as it was closed for a wedding. So instead I took a trip through the surreal maze of concrete buildings and suspended gardens. I lost myself through the different levels peeping at birds' nests in the tree canopy. It is probably one of my favourite place in London. I wish I could do a flat swap for a couple of weeks, and take a holiday here. One could not get bored in a place so full of resources. Visit the London Museum, and learn about 2 000 years of the city's history. The Barbican Centre is Europe's largest multi-arts centre, and holds memorable exhibitions. The concert room has an excellent acoustic, there are three cinemas, a library, a sculpture court and a tropical conservatory, which architecture and plant display I personally found more interesting than the Palm House at Kew. This large residential estate, built between 1965 and 1976, was Grade II listed in 2001. There is a real harmony in scale and cohesion, and between the architecture and landscape. Going up and down, left and right, I could be anywhere in the world, depending on the weather. A film director's dream! But what's a barbican? The etymology of the word is unsure: maybe from the French barbacane, the Arabic bab-khanah or mediaeval English burgh-kenning. My dictionary says 'a projecting watchtower over the gate of a castle or fortified town; esp the outwork intended to defend the drawbridge'. I did not see the drawbridge but the best preserved remains of the city's old walls.