“Wherever possible, flats, maisonnettes and houses are planned to catch the sun during at least part of the day. They are also designed so that they enjoy a good prospect from the living room windows.”

“Generous windows are provided throughout the development to allow good lighting to all parts of the flats and to take the best advantage of the outlook. The design of the superstructure of both the long blocks and the tower blocks allows the exterior wall to be designed as a light framework of windows and solid panels.”

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


Large windows

The structural design of both the terrace and the tower blocks allowed the exterior wall to contain a framework of very large windows, which allow good lighting to all parts of the flats (except the kitchens and bathrooms) and to give a fabulous view in most cases. Chamberlin Powell & Bon, the architects, clearly gave a lot of thought to this. In their 1959 Report to the Corporation, they advised: “Window bars should be infrequent, slender, and if possible should be tapered inside to avoid a shadowed face. The main frame should be narrow or shaped to minimise shadows”.


Very good quality hardwood was used for the windows and their surrounds and the wood was painted with clear varnish. The overall effect from a distance is to give a warm honey colour to the buildings.


The Barbican Estate Office arranges for the outside of the windows to be cleaned. Access may be required to some flats for this purpose, but usually they can use the firemen’s access doors to reach the balconies.

Use of sliding windows

The timber-framed sliding windows are released and secured by turning the handle 180° – half a turn. Apparently you should only secure them in the closed position or you may damage the bolt and track.