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Barbican Centre Description and analysis of motivations behind the planning scheme - Essay Example

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The evaluation of the structure and elements of planning schemes related to cities has to be based on certain criteria: first, the reasoning for the creation of an urban site needs to be identified…
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Barbican Centre Description and analysis of motivations behind the planning scheme
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Download file to see previous pages Then, the effects of the site on the social and economic life of the local community should be identified, as possible. Also, the resources available for the realization of the particular planning scheme have to be taken into account. In current paper another aspect of urban planning schemes is explored: the motivations that can exist behind such schemes. Particular emphasis is given to the potential influence of modern and postmodern culture on the planning schemes developed within cities. The case of Barbican Centre in London is used as an example for checking the interaction between urban planning and culture. The literature developed in this field is reviewed aiming to show that urban planning is not independent from the cultural environment of modern cities. However, the level at which an urban planning scheme is affected by culture is not standardized; the practice followed in other urban planning schemes developed locally is commonly used as the basis for defining the cultural characteristics of urban planning schemes. In the case under examination the above finding is explained as follows: the designers of the Barbican Centre were based on cultural trends used in the high majority of similar buildings across UK. Of course, differences between Barbican Centre and other sites of similar use have not been avoided, a fact that it is related to the personal perceptions of its designers but also to the needs that the specific Centre has to cover. In addition, through the years, the alterations of certain of the Centre’s initial parts have been necessary under the influence of postmodern culture, an issue discussed analytically below. 2.0 Barbican Centre as a planning scheme reflecting modern and postmodern culture 2.1 Barbican Centre – Description and key characteristics The interaction between the Barbican Centre and the modern/ postmodern culture can be understood only by referring primarily to the key characteristics of Barbican Centre, meaning especially its construction elements/ structure both in its initial phase, in 1982, and after its two refurbishments, in 2006 and in 2012. The Barbican Centre in the City of London can be characterized as an exceptional architectural work. The idea for the Centre’s establishment can be identified in 1955 but it was quite later, in 1982, that the Centre was finally completed;1 the Queen was invited to open the Barbican Centre in 1982, an invitation to which the Queen responded positively.2 At that time, the Barbican Centre was thought to be an exceptional work, not just in aesthetic terms but also in functional terms: the Centre included not only theatres and cinema but also ‘a library and a series of galleries’.3 Figure 1 – Photos of Barbican Centre, as in 1982 (E-architect 2013) The cost of Barbican Centre has been estimated to ?153m.4 In 2006 the refurbishment of the Centre was considered as necessary so that certain functional weaknesses of the Centre to be addressed; the works done on the Centre in 2006 reached a cost of ?14m.5 Today, the Barbican Centre is the largest complex of buildings dedicated to art.6 The Centre is consisted of a series of buildings of different size; the London Symphony Orchestra is one of the most important buildings of Barbican Centre.7 The annual visitors of Barbican Centre are about 1.5million.8 An important characteristic of the construction process has been its duration.9 In fact, when the Centre was finally completed its main construction material, ‘the concrete hulk, had fallen out of fashion’.10 The access to the Centre is rather strange: ‘at street level the available connections are limited’.11 Instead, the Centre can be accessed easier by ‘ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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