Chamberlin, Powell & Bon’s Early Plans

In 1954 the City asked Chamberlin, Powell & Bon, fresh from designing the Golden Lane Estate, to produce a design for the south Barbican site including housing for 5,000 residents. (It excluded the area north of Beech Street where the blocks from John Trundle Court to Ben Jonson House now stand). They produced a proposal to the City in 1955 for several huge office blocks mixed with residential courtyards.

Chamberlin, Powell & Bon were then commissioned to prepare a further scheme for the whole Barbican area, including the land north of Beech Street. They were instructed to examine the possibility of including the City of London School, the City of London School for Girls and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in the scheme. The introduction of the schools with their need for adjacent open space, put pressure on the available space for flats.

Chamberlin, Powell & Bon’s 1956 report introduced the idea of residential tower blocks, 30 storeys high, to compensate for the loss of ground space to schools. They placed the schools together in the centre near the proposed arts centre. There was also to be a 140 room hotel. One of the ideas was to have an enormous glass pyramid, containing a conservatory, surrounded by gardens and ornamental water areas.

In 1957, Chamberlin, Powell & Bon were commissioned to prepare a modified version of their 1956 plan for an outline planning application to the London County Council.