Podium Beds in the Barbican Estate

Flower beds on the Podium

“Formal gardening is restricted to the podium and the small sunken, enclosed courts where the pattern of planting can be appreciated by pedestrians moving about on a higher level.”

Chamberlin, Powell & Bon, Architects “Barbican Redevelopment” April 1959

The Barbican Estate did not confine planting to the gardens. There are specially designed beds sunk into the tiled surfaces of the Podium in many areas.

Since many of these beds are only 18 inches deep, they present a challenge to the garden designers, but they have succeeded in growing some small Birch and Prunus trees along with normal mixed shrubs and herbaceous and annual bedding plants. (That is what I am told. My plant knowledge is limited to distinguishing yellow ones from pink ones.)