If you’re wandering around the back of the Barbican, you might spy a lot of steel tubes with a seemingly random selection of plants in them.

This is a “pop-up” (because everything is a pop-up these days) garden which is said to help trap particulates in the air. Its location right outside the car park might suggest the source of the particulates they want to prevent spreading. It was commissioned as part of the Barbican and Golden Lane low emission neighbourhood project and designed pro-bono by a landscape design firm, Studio xmpl.

The planting looks to my inexpert eye to look a bit scraggy at the moment, and I would have probably gone for plants with more foliage, but a local sign says that the plants chosen are noted for their ability to trap particulate drifting around in the atmosphere.

I guess they’ve gone for functionality over aesthetics.

The Barbican is actually a delightfully green area already with plants rioting over the concrete balconies and lots of ponds and waterfalls to improve the air quality.

At the moment, the pop-up garden is expected to last for a couple of years, until a permanent site is found.


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  1. Melvyn says:

    They better hope people can tell the difference between Pop Up and A Takeaway !

  2. Ricolas says:

    I’ll check this out. I go to the Barbican most weekend with my daughter for music reasons, which is fortunate as the Barbican is one of my favourite places. The planting generally, much improved over the last couple of years is extraordinarily well thought out, providing colour, texture and interest all year around. It is worth mentioning that that took time to bed in, perhaps this will too . Thanks as ever for the heads up.

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