Garden (or sub-podium) Flats, Barbican Estate

We don’t count kitchens and bathrooms when we talk about numbers of rooms.

These are flats which are below the podium level on which the building stands. They may face out onto one of the estate’s gardens or onto the lake. ‘Sub-podium flats’ is the more accurate, but boring, description for them. No flats actually have direct access to the gardens and some face only the lake, so ‘garden flats’ is a littlemisleading, but it is a lot more inspiring. These are the facts about garden flats.

No tower has garden flats.

Only four of the terrace blocks have garden flats: Defoe, Thomas More, Andrewes and Speed Houses. This is because they front onto the sunken lake and gardens (Speed Garden and Thomas More Garden).

They are a feature only of the South Barbican area. The North Barbican blocks (north of the Barbican centre) have no flats below podium level because there is no sunken garden.

No flats have direct garden access. (Some Lambert Jones Mews houses have doors opening straight onto Thomas More Garden, but they are proper houses not flats.) The nearest thing to direct access is that Thomas More garden flats can reach the garden via communal stairs and entrances. Defoe, Speed and Andrewes flats are closer to the gardens (or in Andrewes case, the lake) in terms of enjoying the view than the other flats in their bocks, but have to use the same access to them as the regular flats above the podium.

There are lower garden flats – the same level as the garden or lake. And there are upper ‘garden’ flats – at upper floor level (as judged from the garden or lake), but still below the podium. Thomas More and Andrewes Houses contain upper and lower garden flats. Defoe and Speed Houses have upper garden flats but no lower garden flats.

Andrewes House has 15 lower level garden – or lakeside – flats (Type 76), and one storey of 15 upper level flats (Type 16) on top of them. They are all one-bedroom flats. The flats’ living rooms face north across the lake.

Thomas More House has 13 lower level garden flats, which are all studio flats. (11 Type 13 and one each of Type 12 and Type 14). On top, there are two storeys (12 flats each) of one-bedroom flats (Type 16). The flats’ living rooms face north across Thomas More Garden.

Defoe House has a more eclectic mix with three types of upper level, one-bedroom, flats (Types 49, 52 and 53) and a two-bedroom maisonette flat (Type 51). The flats’ living rooms face south across Thomas More Garden.

Speed House has nine upper level garden flats (Type 84) which are one-bedroom maisonettes on two floors. The flats’ living rooms face south across Speed Garden.

If you want a two storey garden maisonette, Speed House and Defoe House have such flats.

If you want the closest you can have to immediate garden access, Thomas More House is your choice.

If you want a separate bedroom, Defoe, Andrewes, and Thomas More Houses can accomodate you. You may find a lakeside one-bedroom flat in Andrewes House, but you have to accept upper level flats in Defoe and Thomas More Houses.

If you want a studio flat, Thomas More and Defoe Houses have them.

If you want to be at genuine garden level, you need a studio flat in Thomas More House.

If you want to be at lakeside and watch the ducks, you need a one-bedroom flat in Andrewes House.

Brandon Mews properties are treated as houses, but seen from the lake and garden they are maisonettes at sub-podium level, overlooking the lake and/or Speed Garden, so there is not much difference and I am including them here.

Lambert Jones Mews houses are more definitely houses and nothing else. But I mention them again as having views over Thomas More Garden, mainly from first floor picture windows, and in some cases direct access to the garden via a back door.

Wallside houses have picture windows overlooking the extension of the lake and the bits of City wall so I am including them for completeness. (The houses at the southern end of The Postern also have a view over the lake extension and City wall.)