In 2015, we joined forces with Architecture 00. Together, we enjoy collaborating in a shared environment where strategic, urban and social designers, architects, programmers and economists practice design beyond its traditional borders. 00 work with individuals, governments, corporations and communities to solve problems and anticipate change, and to design successful platforms and places. As a studio it aims to reach beyond the design of objects themselves to the social, economic and environmental systems behind them.

Barbican Highwalks

Studio Weave was asked by the City of London to look at enhancements to two sites within the Barbican Estate: Ben Johnson Highwalk and Saint Giles Terrace. Both spaces form part of the 1970s estate’s Highwalk network, which is knitted into the residential blocks.

Our proposal for the two spaces is to maintain the strong, considered geometries of the original design but repair or replace those elements that are letting the spaces down. The elements of refurbishment include cleaning away efflorescence, repairing tile work, and replacing poorly performing lighting.

Ben Johnson Highwalk constitutes one part of a network of high-level pedestrian routes. It is used primarily as a through route and is not currently used extensively as a place to spend time in by either the residents or passers-by.

As well as a simple through route, St Giles Terrace is used as spill out from the church and as a meeting place for users of the church and City of London School for Girls. St Giles Church regularly hosts concerts and audience members congregate on the terrace before and after events.

To complement this refurbishment work, we have designed a new range of bespoke Barbican-specific furniture to include tables, stools, seats and planters. The furniture range consists of variations on two simple elements and can be arranged in various configurations around the estate as well as at Ben Johnson Highwalk and Saint Giles Terrace – the two spaces in question for this initial phase of the project.

The furniture is divided into two kinds, tubular benches and sheet metal planters. The tubular benches include three versions of varying complexity: a table, stool and seat, each made from a single continuous loop and blocks of timber. The sheet metal planters include square, rectangular, and curved containers with a zone for a timber block seat.

On Ben Johnson Highwalk, the benches replace the old City benches fixed over the vents. On Saint Giles Terrace, the benches create a sequence of small lounges by the waterside and the planters with timber seats interspersed form an arc of planting that responds to the existing geometry while introducing more greenery into the space.