The Bridge Across the Lake

“The thrillingly vertiginous crossing of the lake on a gangway slung between the tall columns of the cross slab. From here one can overlook the rushing water of the cascades as if from a bridge across some mountain gorge.”

“The Buildings of England” Nikolaus Pevsner and Simon Bradley

If you look at this picture you can plainly see an unfamiliar shaft running diagonally out of the Barbican Arts centre across the lake towards Fore Street.

This is the model from Chamberlin Powell & Bon’s 1959 Report to the Corporation of London. The incongruous shaft was going to be an enclosed tunnel for traffic running right through the Barbican. Fortunately, as “The Buildings of England” also records: “A dual carriageway planned in 1959 to run north-south in a concrete box across the middle was fortunately abandoned.”

That allowed Chamberlin Powell & Bon to design Gilbert House and to place a pedestrian bridge underneath it from the Barbican Arts Centre to Postern. In every way, this was a dramatic improvement to the scheme.