Podium in use in the Barbican Estate

Floor levels

Since podium was intended as a new “ground level”, it was decided to designate the podium level as ground floor or 0. The other floors are 1, 2, 3 etc. upwards or 01, 02, 03 downwards. 03 level is sometimes street level.

A colour coding was introduced to help people spot the right buttons to press in lifts. Podium level is usually indicated by white lettering on a red background. Floors above podium level were indicated by black lettering on a white background. Floors below podium level were indicated by white lettering on a black background. (This may not have been perpetuated in recent lift renewals.)

Graphic design

The architects wanted consistent design of lettering on signs to be used around the estate. They wanted to unify the scheme and give it a distinctive character. Herbert Spencer was commissioned to design a special Barbican font for the shape size and layout of letters and numbers to be used throughout the estate.

Podium Lighting

Podium lighting is controlled by photo electric cells which switch all lights on at dusk and off in the morning. At midnight a time switch reduces lighting to one fitting in every 23 meters of pedestrian route, and one fitting over each main entrance and over areas in shadow. This reduced level operates till 8.00 a.m. when lighting is restored (unless the photo electric cells judge that there’s enough daylight). Lighting for lakes, fountains and gardens and flood lighting are controlled by solar-dial time switches which turn on at dusk and off at midnight.

Escalator access

There are escalators. One set is provided by the office building spanning London Wall. It can be accessed from the corner of Wood Street and London Wall and takes you up to Wallside. There are also escalators from Moorgate Station and from another development in London Wall.

There is a lift in the tower-like construction on Aldersgate Street, a few yards north of London Museum. It takes you up to the highwalk level. There is another lift in the corner of the estate beyond Willoughby House.