The Barbican Art Centre has been awarded the first £25 million of a planned upgrade to open up the core of the building and improve access to the arts centre.
The funding is coming from the City of London and will be used to develop elements of a long-term masterplan, undertake further consultation, and deliver early systems and infrastructure work to boost the arts centre’s operational and environmental performance over the next two years.
The City of London is the Barbican Centre’s founder and principal funder.
The previously announced Renewal Programme will transform underused spaces within the centre for new creative use, whilst also investing in its existing venues and public spaces, and improving the welcome, wayfinding and technical capabilities at the site.
The project will preserve the complex, respecting its Grade II listed status, and the original architectural vision of the arts centre, which is now more than 40 years old.
Since the appointment of an award-winning design team in 2022 – led by Allies and Morrison, Asif Khan Studio and Buro Happold – the Barbican Renewal Programme team has been consulting to understand what audiences, artists, local communities, and the wider public want from the scheme.
Chair of the City Corporation’s Barbican Centre Board Tom Sleigh said: “The Barbican is creatively buzzing and enthralling audiences as it contributes to the cultural and economic life of the City, the capital and beyond.
“This initial investment, as part of the larger Renewal project, will start to reshape the arts centre to enable it to continue to deliver unforgettable experiences to millions.
“The Board recognises the need to care for this world-famous listed asset, and sympathetically intervene in the built environment, making it more open, inclusive and sustainable.”
Following the £25 million funding from the City of London, the Barbican Centre will be seeking a range of additional funding sources for subsequent phases of the programme.