Barbican Conservatory

Words: Laura Pendlebury
Photography: Mirko Nicholson


Creeping tendrils spiral down grey concrete structures and occasional, sporadic splashing can be heard from the nearby water features, a gentle background to the artificial warmth provided by the surrounding greenhouse. A stark contrast to the brutalist structure hidden beneath the vines, the Barbican conservatory is a tropical oasis that manages to be both part of and separate from the building it envelopes; a secret city garden waiting patiently to be discovered. Lush green foliage, seemingly growing up from within the building itself, covers the floor, walls and part of the ceiling and yet somehow this does not feel in opposition to the hum of city life existing around it.

The conservatory has found, it seems, a way of complimenting this pace of life; this concrete jungle it has found itself existing within. These are no sad potted plants crying out for oxygen and a quiet park to live in, this garden is bold and confident. It continues to grow and to develop regardless of what happens around it. It proudly stands as a place to visit, to admire, to watch and to relax; a place within the very heart of the City of London where nature has well and truly won.