Property of the week: This five-bedroom, five storey house is a rarity on London's Brutalist, iconic Barbican Estate

Melissa York
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Surrounded by grass, gardens and a lake, the Barbican is greener than it appears to non-residents

Love it or hate it, the modernist maze that is the Barbican Estate is a concrete part of the City of London’s architectural history. Costing around £150m to build over a period of 20 years, the Queen described it as “one of the wonders of the modern world” when she opened it.

But its three residential towers give an overly Brutalist impression of the estate, and overshadow some of its more traditional aspects, such as this five bedroom house, spread across five floors. It’s been home to Nicola Baker, a former Goldman Sachs investment manager, and her family for the past 20 years.

“People are very odd in the way that they perceive it,” says Baker. “There’s a massive amount of gardens, greenery, trees and water. We’re actually called The Republic over in the Wallside part of the development because we’re managed to get the freehold of our properties.”

The Wallside houses were designed by architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon in 1971 and they’ve since earned Grade II-listed status. Contrary to popular belief, they also boast contemporary features found in new build towers, like roof terraces and a private garage.

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Baker, who travelled a lot during the week for work, found the 10 minute walk to the office from the Barbican a big attraction and the stillness of the City at the weekends suited her, too. After looking round nearby new builds, she also found the value for money where she was unparalleled.

“If you take it on a square footage basis, the property is incredibly cheap,” she says. “A lot of people that live on our side have moved there from another part of the Barbican. There just isn’t an awareness that these houses are tucked away, people don’t even know there’s a private square there.”

But now it’s time to move on and its specialist estate agent has described its sale as “a truly rare opportunity to acquire one of only a handful of houses on the Barbican Estate”.

The guide price is £3.5m. Call 020 3795 5920 or email

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