Glass Pyramids (The 1956 Scheme)

With this plan the broad outlines of the present vast and powerful 35 acre (14 hectare) development were already visible.”

“The Buildings of England”, Nikolaus Pevsner and Simon Bradley

Chamberlin, Powell & Bon were commissioned to prepare a new 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 development was to integrate with the proposals in the Martin-Mealand Scheme for commercial development on the eastern and southern boundaries of the proposed residential area.

The introduction of the schools with their need for adjacent open space, put pressure on the available space for flats. Their report in 1956 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. (See picture opposite.)