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Monday, 16 October, 2000, 16:53 GMT 17:53 UK
Barbican gets 6m makeover
The Barbican Centre
The Barbican Centre opened in 1982
A 6m facelift has been unveiled for the Barbican Centre.

The foyer and public spaces are being redesigned to create what managing director John Tusa said will be "the best arts centre in Europe".

A further 6m will be spent next summer to upgrade the main concert hall, home to the London Symphony Orchestra.

The centre is also working with the BBC to introduce live camera feeds from around the building, which would allow people in the foyers to see sold-out events.

The new development is part of a major shake-up at the Barbican, in the City of London, which opened in 1982.

A revamp six years later is now out of date, the arts centre's chiefs have said.

'Afterthought'

Work over the next five years bring new lighting, highlight the internal features and improve the layout.

The present layout is said to be confusing for visitors - partly because the arts centre was fitted in almost as an afterthought to the upmarket housing complex around it.

Mr Tusa said: "There's a lot of confusion and bewilderment which partly reflects the number of different activities that go on here.

"We have three cinemas, two theatres and a concert hall. There is just a hell of a lot going on so it would be surprising if people didn't get lost."

Architect Paul Monaghan, one of the redesign team, said: "All the houses were designed and then they decided, 'Oh by the way, can you put in this concert hall and theatre?'"

The building could be listed at some point and bosses have been in talks with English Heritage to assure it work will be in line with the original building.

"I suspect that what we see in the end will be very close to the original, only with some of the original shortcomings clarified," said Mr Tusa.

Mr Tusa said the project would cost in the region of 1.5-2m a year for four years with funding expected from the City's local authority, the Corporation of London.

He said: "The aim is that by the end of the programme we are announcing today, the Barbican will be the best arts centre in Europe within five years."

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