Andrewes House in the Barbican Estate

sketchandrewesFront page of the City’s original letting brochure for Andrewes House

Building completed

July or November 1969 (depending on the source of information). Andrewes House was part of Phase III of the City’s building programme for the Barbican site. It was known as Block VIII until completed. The contractor was John Laing Construction Limited.


The building consists of eleven bays between giant concrete columns. Each bay contains a staircase and lift. In each bay on each floor there are two flats, one on either side of the staircase unit. The flats ‘wrap round’ the staircase unit at front and back. The bays are subdivided into three ‘room’ spans, so that one of the two flats has a two room span and the other has a one room span at front or back. As a result, on most floors, the flats are ‘L’-shaped and fit together round the staircase units so that one has a two span living room and a one span bedroom and the other has a one span living room and two bedrooms. This pattern is repeated along the building. There are seven storeys above podium with two storeys beneath. The podium is open under the upper structure of the building and has glazed entrances to the flats in each of the twelve bays. The top floor (which has to be reached by a flight of stairs) contains two penthouses per bay with barrel vaulted roofs and ceilings.


Andrewes House is the terrace block which runs along the south side of the lake, from the bridge across the lake to the waterfall at the far end. It sits between Gilbert House and Willoughby House. At the upper levels, living rooms overlook Fore Street, and bedrooms overlook the lake. Level 02 is actual ground level – the level of the lake and the streets (Fore Street and Wood Street).


Andrewes House is an ‘east-west’ or ‘front to back’ block which means that it runs from east to west and the flats go through the whole depth of the block with living rooms facing south and the bedrooms facing north.

Similar blocks.

Andrewes House is one of four very similar terrace blocks: Andrewes House and Speed House which face each other over Speed Gardens and the lake; and Thomas More House and Defoe House, which face each other over Thomas More Gardens. They each have penthouse flats at the top, ‘garden’ flats below the podium level, and regular flats in between. However, although many of the same flat types make up most of the flats in each house, there are many differences – most markedly in the nature of the ‘garden’ of sub-podium flats which are very different in each block.


The block contains 192 flats (numbered 1-192) of 13 different types, varying from 2-room to 4-room flats. The regular flats and penthouse flats above podium level follow virtually the same layout as in the other three similar blocks: Defoe, Thomas More and Speed Houses.

The garden or sub-podium flats are a bit different. There are two storeys of flats below podium level. At each level the living rooms look out over the lake. The lower garden level flats also have their own private gardens or patios at the front adjoining Fore Street (which is screened by a high wall). This is the only block where garden flats have individual gardens.


There are entrance doors at podium level on Andrewes Highwalk for each staircase. There is also access from Fore Street and Wood Street via lift and staircase No. 49, which is next to the bar/restaurant. Or you can reach the lifts at 03 level from the underground car park.

Lifts and staircases.

Since each flat takes up the depth of the building, there is no central corridor. Instead, there are separate staircases with lifts at intervals along the block. There are 11 staircases, numbered 38 to 49. Each staircase serves two flats on each floor.

Car parking.

On 03 level there is access to Andrewes Car Park, whose entrance is off Fore Street. This is a vast car park which stretches below Willoughby House, Postern, and St Giles’ Church. It is accessed by taking the lift to level 03, then walking past the stores out onto the ramp, and then down to the car park itself.


On 03 level there are tenants’ stores.