Barbican at birth

An online exhibition and book, Building the Brutal, features previously unseen photographs of the final construction of the Barbican.

Between 1979 and 1983, Peter Bloomfield was commissioned to photograph behind the scenes during the completion of the most iconic Brutalist building in the country. He recently gifted his entire collection of over 1,400 negatives to the arts centre.

“I don’t look for great wide vistas,” says Bloomfield. “I wanted detail in the foreground, detail through to the background and strong perspectives that fed you into the picture.”

The post-war complex, designed in the 1950s by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon and constructed in the following decades, was officially opened by the Queen in 1982.