London’s Barbican Centre is in line for a £10.1 million programme of improvement works over the next year, intended to fix health and safety risks within the building.
The central London arts complex will also gain new restaurant and event facilities as part of the plans for 2020/21, which are being considered by the City of London Corporation.
Health and safety works will make up the majority of the intended redevelopment, with £7 million of the draft budget allocated to improving the safety of the building, which was built in 1982.
In a report for the council, it is revealed that £5 million-worth of upgrades will “address the health and safety issues [and] the poor and aged condition of the building fabric”, in addition to mechanical and electrical improvements.
It notes that, left unaddressed, the current situation represents both a health and safety risk and a corporate reputation risk.
Another £2 million of the draft budget has been assigned to tackle “dangerous spaces” within the building, which are used by maintenance staff. The work will bring these spaces into compliance with health and safety regulations making it safer for work to be carried out in them.
A £2.8 million redevelopment of the Barbican’s kitchens and event space, and the addition of a new restaurant, is also proposed, with the enhanced facilities intended “to improve the quality of customer experience, reduce costs and improve income lines”.
The plans also include a £300,000 replacement for the Barbican’s art gallery chiller – which maintains conditions for art works the organisation has on loan.
According to the report, failure to do this “would result in reputational damage to the corporation and likely very large claims from lenders if art works were damaged”.
The plans will be decided on by council bosses in March, after which a full funding bid will go before its committees.
According to the report, funding for capital projects is assessed on criteria including how essential the scheme is and the risks it addresses.
A statement from the Barbican said: “The Barbican aims to offer its audiences an outstanding experience and needs to keep its iconic building in the best possible condition. There are continual needs in maintaining the centre in line with best practice, which are the subject of applications to the City of London Corporation, which owns the buildings.”