Special Types of Flats
The Types 1A, 1B, 1C sequence of flats slotted together on a floor are the most frequently encountered types of Barbican tower flat. Other Barbican types may be encountered on some floors for specific design reasons (like working round a water storage tank), but these are the basic Barbican flat types for almost all flats in Cromwell Tower and Lauderdale Tower.
In Shakespeare Tower the basic Barbican types which make up almost all the groups of flats are Types 8A, 8B, 8C.
In the South Barbican (round the Barbican lake and gardens) Andrewes, Defoe, Speed and Thomas More Houses contain very similar flats. They are mostly Type 20 and Type 21. Type 20 is a one-bedroom flat, but with a larger living area than the Type 21.
The Type 21 Barbican flat has two bedrooms. The two types are on either side of the staircase/lift shaft. The Type 20 takes a bit of space in front of the staircase for its living room; the Type 21 takes the space behind the staircase which allows it to have two bedrooms. Otherwise these Barbican flat types are fairly similar: living room at the front, bedroom(s) at the back, and kitchen, bathroom and toilet in the middle.
There are also two standard types of Barbican flat in the other South Barbican blocks: Gilbert, Mountjoy and Seddon Houses. These are Type 26 and Type 31. These Barbican flats are on one side or other of a central corridor. All the windows face one way. There is a bedroom, plus a living room with a ‘dining area’. They are virtually the same, so I am just showing you the plans for ‘Type 31’.
Ben Jonson House has the most one-bedroom Barbican flats. Bunyan Court has the same types. They are Type F2C. These Barbican flat types have a very simple rectangular format: bedroom, plus living room and kitchen area.
Still in Ben Jonson House and Bunyan Court, there are Barbican Type M2A and M2B flats. They are very different from the Barbican Type F2C one bedroom flats. These Barbican flats are two-storey maisonettes. They have a bedroom on one floor, and a living room and dining room on the other floor. So, they have three rooms rather than the two rooms of the F2C type.
The entrance leads to a hall and then to the stairs to the upper level. Beyond is the bathroom and then the bedroom. Going up the stairs, you emerge in the middle of the upper level which takes up the entire width of the building (no corridor). There’s a kitchen in the middle, with a dining room at one end and the living area at the other, looking into the Barbican estate.
Before leaving the North Barbican area, I should mention Barbican Type P2A of which there are many in Breton House and John Trundle Court. These are two-storey Barbican penthouse maisonettes with a spiral staircase between floors. They have bedroom on one floor, and the living room on the other floor.
Each of these flat ‘types’ has a unique shape and layout.
Cromwell Tower and Lauderdale Tower share the same flat ‘types’, but in mirror versions of each other. Shakespeare Tower has rather different flat types. In all of them there are variations in kitchen, utility room, bathroom, shower-room and WC combinations – which I am not going into – for the details I suggest you look at the plans on Barbican Living.
Types 1A, 1B, and 1C are the trio of flats on most of the floors in Cromwell Tower and Lauderdale Tower. Type 1C has 4 bedrooms (including the best-proportioned main bedroom), a dining area, and a large living area opening onto a rectangular balcony space.
Type 1B also has 4 bedrooms, and a living room and dining area, but it has a triangular balcony, and the main entrance is at the master bedroom end of the flat.
Type 1A is different. It has 3 bedrooms (officially – but also a separate dining room you could call bedroom 4). It also has a living room and a breakfast room. The master bedroom is squeezed into a triangular shape.
Shakespeare Tower has similar flats but with one big difference. To make a larger living room, the architects gave them one less bedroom. So these are all three-bedroom flats.
Here is a Type 8A. It has a breakfast room rather than a dining area. The main bedroom is triangular.
This is a Type 8B. The living room opens onto a triangular balcony area. The flat’s entrance is at the master bedroom end of the flat (furthest from the living room).
This is Type 8C. It has the best proportioned main bedroom and the largest living area (by a small margin).
Back to Cromwell and Lauderdale Towers. They have some three-bedroom flats of Types 2A, 2B and 2C. These are the same as 1A, 1B and 1C but with the final room next to the living room taken away to give a larger living area – just like Types 8A, 8B and 8C in Shakespeare Tower really. I am just showing you Type 2A.
There are a few other variations. Every 10 floors, there are communal water tanks. In flats on these floors, the shower room is reduced to a WC to make space for the tank room. This is an example in Cromwell Tower, called a Type 3A.
There are three penthouse maisonettes at the top of each of the three towers. They are all different from each other so I am not including plans.
Willoughby House is the place to look for Barbican maisonettes in the South Barbican area. Almost all the flats are in Willoughby House are maisonettes. There are many different types. Most of the one-bedroom maisonettes are ‘Type 90’ and ‘Type 91’.The Willoughby House maisonettes are very similar so you only need to see one type’s plans to understand the layout. At entrance level, there is a living room, then the bedroom is up (or down) a half flight of stairs.
Willoughby House also has two-bedroom Barbican maisonettes. ‘Type 96’ and ‘Type 97’ are the most frequently encountered two-bedroom types. They are very similar so I am only showing you the plans for ‘Type 96’.This is a typical layout. At entrance level, there is a living room. The two bedrooms are up (or down) a half flight of stairs and along a short corridor.
Willoughby House has penthouse flats which are duplex Barbican maisonettes with one or two bedrooms. They are Types 103 to 115. Most of the one-bed penthouse maisonettes are ‘Type 110’.There is a living room at entrance level. The bedroom is down a half flight of stairs and along a short corridor. But at penthouse level there is what the architects called ‘a penthouse lounge/study’. In truth, this might just as well be called a second bedroom.
Most of the ‘official’ two-bedroom Barbican penthouse maisonettes in Willoughby House are ‘Type 109’.There is a living room at entrance level. One bedroom is down a half flight of stairs and along a short corridor. The other bedroom is up a flight at penthouse level.
Gilbert, Mountjoy and Seddon Houses have ‘Type 35’ and ‘Type 36’ Barbican duplex penthouse maisonettes, taking up most of the top two floors.
This is the layout. One bedroom and living area on the entrance level. Two bedrooms on the upper level. The living area is double height. The windows all face one way. Since the two types are almost identical, I am showing you the plans for Type 35 only.
Barbican maisonettes are almost entirely absent from the rest of the South Barbican. The exception is Speed House, where there are ‘Type 84’ sub podium (or garden) Barbican maisonettes.
The North Barbican maisonettes are mostly in Ben Jonson House and Bunyan Court, which have very similar flats. Types M2A and M2B are the main maisonette types.This is the layout. Bedroom on the smaller entrance floor. Living room and dining room on the other larger floor. The two types are barely distinguishable, so I am showing you the plans only for Type M2A.
Types M3A and M3B are the main triplex Barbican penthouse types in Ben Jonson House and Bunyan Court.There is a bedroom at entrance level. The living area is on the next, middle floor. There is another ‘bedroom/penthouse study’ at the top. They are very similar so I am only showing you the plans for Type M3A.
Breton House and John Trundle Court contain one-bedroom Barbican penthouse maisonettes of Type P2A.These are two-storey penthouse maisonettes with a spiral staircase between floors. Bedroom on one floor. Living room on the other floor.
Of the newer Barbican flats in Frobisher Crescent, all the flats on the 9th floor are penthouse maisonettes, with a bedroom at penthouse level. Most are ‘Type 9.2’.
Finally, the three original towers each have three duplex Barbican penthouse maisonettes at the top, which also have roof terraces. Type 4A is an example.
Most of the flats on the top floors of the four Barbican blocks around the gardens – Andrewes, Defoe, Speed and Thomas More Houses – are barrel-vaulted one-bedroom Barbican penthouses of ‘Type 23’. The flats at the exposed ends of these Barbican blocks are bigger, usually with a larger living room and a separate dining room, taking advantage of the windows in the third wall.
Gilbert, Mountjoy and Seddon Houses are Barbican blocks which have ‘Type 35’ and ‘Type 36’ duplex penthouses, filling up most of the sixth and seventh floors. This is the layout. One bedroom and the living area on the entrance floor. Two bedrooms on the upper level. The living area is double height. The windows all face one way. Since the two types are almost identical, I am showing you the plans for Type 35 only. The end flats are different. Gilbert and Mountjoy Houses have larger one-bedroom penthouses, and Seddon House has duplex penthouse flats.
Willoughby House has Barbican penthouse flats which are duplex maisonettes with one or two bedrooms. They are Types 103 to 115. Most of these one-bed penthouse maisonettes are ‘Type 110’. ‘Type 110’ has a living room at entrance level. The bedroom is down a half flight of stairs and along a short corridor. But at penthouse level there is what the Barbican architects called ‘a penthouse lounge/study’. In truth, this might just as well be called a second bedroom.
Most of the ‘official’ two-bedroom Barbican penthouse maisonettes in Willoughby House are ‘Type 109’. There is a living room at entrance level. One bedroom is down a half flight of stairs and along a short corridor. The other bedroom is up a flight at penthouse level.
In the North Barbican area, Bunyan Court and Ben Jonson House both have penthouse triplexes. Types M3A and M3B are the main triplex penthouse types. There is a bedroom at entrance level. The living area is on the next, middle floor. There is another bedroom – actually called a ‘bedroom/penthouse study’ – at the top. They are very similar so I am only showing you the plans for Type M3A.
Breton House and John Trundle Court have one-bedroom Barbican penthouse maisonettes of type P2A and P2B. The living room and dining room are on the entrance floor. The bedroom is at penthouse level, up a spiral staircase. The two types are barely distinguishable, so I am showing you the plans only for Type P2A.
The top floor of Bryer Court consists of barrel-vaulted Barbican studio penthouses of type PID.
All the flats on the ninth floor of the Frobisher Crescent are Barbican penthouse maisonettes with at least one extra bedroom at penthouse level, up internal stairs. Most flats are one-bedroom flats of ‘Type 9.2’, and these are the plans.
Finally, the three original Barbican towers each have three duplex penthouse maisonettes at the top (or ‘triplex’ if you count the roof terrace area). These are types 4A, 4B, or 4C. Here is type 4A as an example.
Type 4A as an example.
No flats actually have direct access to the gardens, and some face only the Barbican lake. So, ‘sub podium flat’ is probably the more accurate description, but ‘garden flats’ is a lot more inspiring.
There are ‘lower garden flats’ – the same level as the garden or Barbican lake. And there are ‘upper garden flats’ – at a floor above (as judged from the garden or Barbican lake), but still below the Podium. Thomas More and Andrewes Houses have upper and lower garden flats, Defoe and Speed Houses have upper garden flats, but no lower garden flats.
Andrewes House has 15 lower garden – or in this case, lake-side – Barbican flats of ‘Type 76’ and a similar number of upper level Barbican flats of ‘Type 16’, on top of them. ‘Type 76’s are all one-bedroom flats with split-level living areas facing north across the Barbican lake. They have ‘U’-shaped windows looking over the Barbican lake, which is a great feature.
Thomas More House has a row of lower garden Barbican flats, which are all studio flats, and most of them are ‘Type 13’. These flats come nearest of all the Barbican garden flats to having direct access to the garden, via common entrances to Thomas More Garden.
Above the lower garden Barbican flats, Thomas More House has two storeys of one-bedroom ‘Type 16’ flats – the same upper garden level Barbican flats as in Andrewes House. The flats have a living room at one end, a bedroom at the other end, and kitchen and bathroom in between.
Defoe House has a more varied mixture of Barbican garden flats types – but upper level only. Most of the flats are ‘Type 51’, which is a mezzanine Barbican flat type. It has an entrance down stairs from Barbican podium level. This is where the living area is. Then there are stairs down to two bedrooms.
Speed House has nine upper level garden Barbican flats, of ‘Type 84’, which are one-bedroom maisonettes on two floors.
Brandon Mews properties are treated as houses rather than Barbican flats. But, seen from the lake and garden, they are maisonettes at Barbican sub-podium level, overlooking the Barbican lake and/or Speed Garden, so I am mentioning them here. Brandon Mews has four ‘types’ – Types 118, 119, 120, and 121. Types 118 and 119 show you the alternative layouts.
Lambert Jones Mews houses are more definitely houses and nothing else. But I mention them because they have splendid views over Thomas More Garden, mainly from first floor picture windows. In some cases they have direct access to the garden via a back door.
Wallside houses have picture windows overlooking the extension of the Barbican lake and the remaining bits of City wall, so I am including them for completeness. (The houses at the southern end of The Postern also have a view over the Barbican lake extension and City wall.)This is a standard layout in Wallside.
Lambert Jones Mews is a traditional mews. It has little two-storey Barbican houses, with integral garages, and a private cobbled street outside.These Barbican houses also have splendid views over Thomas More Garden at the back, mainly from double-height picture windows. They even have little roof gardens.
Brandon Mews has four ‘types’ – Types 118, 119, 120, and 121. Type 118 is a one-bedroom maisonette on two floors.Brandon Mews properties are treated as Barbican houses because, seen from the podium, you go down steps from the podium under Willoughby House to individual front doors. But, seen from the lake and garden, they are Barbican maisonettes overlooking the Barbican lake and/or Speed Garden, and not actually touching the ground at all.
Type 119 is also a one-bedroom maisonette, but with a spiral staircase to the upper floor.
Type 120 is a two-bedroom maisonette. The second bedroom is taken from space given up in the adjoining one-bedroom type.
Type 121 is also a two-bedroom maisonette.
There are other houses in the Barbican Estate. (Actually outside it now.) These are the houses of Wallside. This is an illustration of one type of house in the terrace.