15 December 2014

The Barbican Conservatory, a tropical wander amongst concrete.

Sometimes Christmas festivities can get a little too much. Goodness knows I adore it, but a couple of weekends ago when meeting with a couple of the usual brunch suspects to scope a new coffee hotspot, the lovely Alana was planning to escape the festive London chaos by visiting the Barbican Conservatory, so I pottered along with her.

Who knew that such Brutalist architecture hid a multi-level tropical forest?

The Barbican Conservatory - Adventures of a London Kiwi

Free to enter, the large conservatory is allegedly the second biggest in London and is home to exotic fish and over 2,000 species of tropical plants and trees. The residential estate itself was originally built to replace housing destroyed in the Second World War and also houses a labyrinthine layout of an arts building “art, music, theatre, dance, film and creative learning events”.

The Barbican Conservatory - Adventures of a London Kiwi
 
The combination of the building arrayed against the thriving tropical vines creates a lush atmosphere, almost reminiscent of the Planet of the Apes movies; a living dichotomy of harsh man-made structure slowly being overtaken by sinuous greenery.

The Barbican Conservatory - Adventures of a London Kiwi

The Barbican Conservatory - Adventures of a London Kiwi


It is perfect for a lunchtime meander, or an afternoon wander. The last time we explored the buildings was in search of the overlooked Oranges & Lemons church St Giles - I wasn't a huge fan of the Barbican at that point...

"St Giles-without-Cripplegate is tucked away on a fairly ugly Estate, amongst some awful Brutalist buildings. Now I know that the Brutalism style was partially a reaction to the World Wars, and a need for something different, something that symbolised the strength and modernity of a new Europe, with cheaper building materials, but still, Urgh."

The Barbican Conservatory - Adventures of a London Kiwi

The Barbican Conservatory - Adventures of a London Kiwi

The Barbican Conservatory - Adventures of a London Kiwi

The Barbican Conservatory - Adventures of a London Kiwi

We loved this wily Tamarillo tree placed to guard and block and external exit that wasn't in use...

The Barbican Conservatory - Adventures of a London Kiwi

The Barbican Conservatory - Adventures of a London Kiwi

...and the ornamental pond which seemed to teem with fish, their bronzed scales flashing in the afternoon sunshine.

The Barbican Conservatory - Adventures of a London Kiwi
 
The Barbican Conservatory - Adventures of a London Kiwi

The Barbican Conservatory - Adventures of a London Kiwi

Found three or four floors above street-level, it is another secret of London's streets, another reason why I love this crazy city.

13 comments :

  1. Really lovely! I've never been inside (or even knew it was there!) x

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  2. I agree, sometimes it is nice to get a little break from the holiday craziness, this place looks like the perfect spot to do just that!

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  3. Would you believe I only just heard that the Barbican had a conservatory yesterday? And here you are blogging about it! Small world... I think I need to visit! Looks so peaceful!
    Tammy x

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  4. abeerfortheshower15 December 2014 at 16:30

    You know, at first glance, I thought this said 'the Barbarian Conservatory.'


    Looks like an absolutely beautiful place to visit. I'm biased, though; as an amateur gardener this kind of place is paradise to me.

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  5. I absolutely love this place and I hope I can make it there in the near future!!! But for now, I'll carry on enjoying Amsterdam :-).

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  6. Wow, I had no idea that was there. The view out of the windows would make me want to stay in there forever! :)

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  7. It really was - peaceful, lush & no shoppers - bliss!

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  8. Me neither but I'm definitely making a bee-line for it the next time chaos gets to me! x

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  9. That's a definite sign Tammy!! You must pop by it when you're here - and need a peaceful moment.

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  10. Ha, yes the architecture is deserving of that category - it's pretty awful!

    It was really beautiful, and each of the plants were labelled in case you need to know. (I do love this angle of the a beer for the shower persona - raging hilarious lunatics, with a touch of gardening on the side...!)

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  11. You're very lucky with the beautiful Vondelpark :D

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  12. How beautiful! I also had no idea it was hidden away there. Great find :)

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