Richard & Nicola

Can you tell me about yourself?

I am 44 years old. Married to Nicola, with two children Isabella (6) and Hector (3).

I was born in a village called Lambourn in Berkshire. I lived in Texas, US, for a number of years from the age of 9. I have family (Aunt and cousins) in Baltimore, America. My mother and father are still alive and, like us, have fallen in love with the barbican - although, the concrete exterior was initially a challenge for them. I have an older brother who lives near to where we were born, so I am the one who properly left the nest as it were.     

What is your occupation?

I am a lawyer. I do a lot of work for the Labour Party, such as to do with elections. I also do a lot of media work, for example in relation to the telephone interception litigation against News Group and the Mirror Group.   

What drew you to move to the Barbican?

I used to play tennis with a friend at the Golden Lane Estate courts - living at the time in a pretty Islington Georgian terrace house. I am a fan of the Twentieth Century, including its bold architecture hence I was always going to appreciate the building. The other thing that drew me to the Barbican was its location, being in the centre of London - I am a city person and have a somewhat irrational fear of the suburbs!

How long have you lived on the estate?

We have lived in the Barbican for about 12 years, initially in an 'L' shaped Defoe House flat looking into the gardens. When we had our second child we started to look around the Barbican for a larger flat. We found this one which we substantially renovated and re-decorated. We never seriously considered moving out of the Barbican - you get a bit institutionalised.

What is your favourite feature of the barbican flats?

The thing that I have most loved about the flats is our old corridor in the Defoe House flat - it ran from the lounge to the bedroom and was wide enough to house a small office. It had a fantastic sweep which linked both ends of the flat so that you could stand in the middle of it and see the tip of St Paul's Cathedral to the South and a vie of the estate to the North that looked like a cubist painting.

How have you found it living here?

Its been a life enhancing and privileged experience. We love walking through the Barbican on the weekend, hoping to catch some free jazz in the foyer or taking part in the various activities for families, such as a Shakespeare weekend or a science weekend (where my daughter dissected a jelly mould in the shape of a brain to the instruction of a UCLH brain surgeon). There is a thriving community of people living here and you usually see someone you know when you are out and about the estate and its surroundings. It feels like a village.