Cover art for Building Utopia: The Barbican Centre
Published
Batsford Books, February 2022
ISBN
9781849946810
Format
Hardcover, 288 pages
Dimensions
28cm × 21cm

Building Utopia: The Barbican Centre

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A sumptuous celebration of London's internationally famous Barbican Arts Centre for the 40th anniversary of its opening in 1982.

A beautifully designed celebration of the 40th birthday of the Barbican Arts Centre, in the heart of the City of London. It is the largest multi-arts centre in Europe, encompassing an art gallery, theatres, concert halls, cinemas and a much-loved conservatory, and regular collaborators include the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Compiled by the Barbican's managing director Sir Nicholas Kenyon, this is an indepth exploration of the centre, drawing on the vast array of material available in its archives, much of which has never been seen before. It includes plans and photographs from the centre's design and construction, original signage and branding, and brochures and programmes. All this is accompanied by a wealth of photographs of the huge range of performances and exhibitions that have taken place over the years, from early RSC performances to the popular Rain Room installation of 2012 to today's impressive programme of events put together in conjunction with schools and the local community. The book's authoritative and evocative text includes:

Foreword by Fiona Shaw

Introduction by Sir Nicholas Kenyon

Cultural historian Robert Hewison on how the centre came into being

Architectural historian Elain Harwood on its architecture

Music critic Fiona Maddocks on music

Writer and theatre critic Lyn Gardner on theatre

Editor and creative director Tony Chambers on visual art

Author and film critic Sukhdev Sandhu on film

With listings of Barbican events from 1982 to the present day, and snippets of oral history from some of the many people associated with the centre over the years, this sumptuous book is an invaluable companion to one of the world's most important cultural spaces.

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