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Barbican Estate

The Barbican Estate is a housing estate in the City of London. The estate is notable because it contains two of London's largest buildings and because it is a rare residential site in an area densely packed with commerce and finance. The Barbican Estate also contains the Barbican Centre (an arts, drama and business venue) and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

The idea to build a residential site in the Cripplegate area, as it was previously known, arose out of the ashes of World War Two. Following almost complete destruction in the Blitz, alone around 5,000 people lived in the City in 1950 of whom only 50 lived in Cripplegate. The decision to build new residential properties on the site was finally taken by the Court of Common Council on 19 September 1957.

The estate was officially opened in 1969 and now contains around 4,000 people living in 2,000 flats. The flats reflect the widespread use in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s of concrete as the visible face of the building. This has led many architects to denounce the flats as early in comparison with their newer, more glassy surroundings.

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