February 1973. Bryer Court was part of Phase IV of the City’s building programme for the Barbican site. The contractor was Myton Limited, a subsidiary of Taylor Woodrow.
Bryer Court is a terrace block on the north podium of the estate. It forms a ‘U’ with John Trundle Court (also a north to south terrace block) and Bunyan Court, an east to west terrace which runs between them. Bunyan Court and John Trundle Court are connected, but Bryer Court stands slightly apart on its own. Bryer Court backs directly onto the building called Bridgwater in Bridgwater Square, which blocks daylight into the entrance corridors at the north end.
Bryer Court runs north to south. The flats face west. The flats do not have a back view because of the presence right behind it, of Murray House (built in 1956) which sticks incongruously into the back of the Barbican site. But an external corridor on the top floor faces that way.
Bryer Court is the narrowest block on the estate, so it is made up entirely of studio flats. There are 56 virtually identical studios on 7 storeys, starting above podium level. Flats are numbered 101 – 108, 201 – 208, 301 – 308, 401 – 408, 501 – 508, 601 – 608, 701 – 708.
You can get to Bryer Court from Fann Street, past the launderette and up the ramp to the north podium. There is a passage at 02 level which takes you out to the car park of the Virgin Active gym which has an entrance onto Beech Street. (Further into this car park here is a door set in a much bigger metal gate into Bridgewater Square, which is a good shortcut at street level to reach Waitrose (or the Welsh Church in Viscount Street, if you are so minded).)
Lifts and staircases
It has an unusual entrance arrangement. Instead of lifts at both ends of the block, there is just one entrance at the southern (Ben Jonson House) end. As if to compensate, they rather ludicrously gave it two entrance doors side by side, as if there was going to be a crush of people trying to get in and out like school parties at the National Gallery. There is yet another door next to them for the stairs. The access corridor at the back of each floor has a waist-high concrete wall and glazing above that. But on the seventh floor – which has no lift, so you have to walk up – all you have is an open metal frame with some glass panels so low that their only purpose can be to give you something to trip over. No one with a tendency to vertigo should come up here. To make it worse, the flagstones are loose and tilt as you walk.
03 level in the lift takes you out into the car park.
I do not knwo what arrangements there are for tenants’ stores.
John Trundle, Bunyan and Bryer Courts enclose Beech Garden, which is a natural garden in a semi-formal layout. It has interestingly shaped individual gardens set in the brick surface, which is itself at different levels. The bricks have been laid in swirly patterns to lead you through bushes to stepped areas where there are seats. The bushes are larger here than almost anywhere else. Beech Gardens becomes John Trundle Highwalk near the bridge over Aldersgate Street to the Barbican Station. Bryer Court has its own little lake at the front in Beech Garden, with gently bubbling fountains.
List description of this building issued by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (as it then was) in 2001.
“Block XVI: 101-108,201-208,301-308,401-408,501-508, 601-608,701-708 Bryer Court. Eight bay block of seven storeys set over open podium floor with large pool on podium, supported on paired giant columns. Rear access gallery reached from entrance lobby, stairs and lifts at southern end of block. The single aspect design is dictated by the presence of Murray House (1956) behind, which intrudes into the Barbican site. The lower floors with varnished wooden windows, those in the centre opening on to balconies with metal and glass balustrades and planting boxes; white-painted soffits; the top floor with higher, round-arched rooms entirely glazed between concrete frame and with white tops.”