The Barbican Centre

Director for Buildings and Renewal

The role


In 2022 the Barbican Centre articulated a new strategic framework which included a new purpose and values, following a period of organisational reckoning, reflection, and disruption through and following the pandemic.  This was co-designed and launched to support delivery against our priorities and goals over the next 5 years. 

Alongside this work we have been looking at our approaches and EDI, audience attraction and building renewal, which are all influences that need to be considered alongside our Creative Vision for the Arts.

We are now at a key point in the Barbican transformation journey and alongside this role we are seeking to appoint a new Director of Audiences and Director for Arts and Participation.

Our Purpose:

Our purpose has been articulated as follows: “We are London’s Creative Catalyst for arts, curiosity, and enterprise.  We spark creative possibilities and transformation for artists, audiences, and communities – to inspire, connect and provoke debate”.

We are the place to be in this Destination City, where everyone is welcome.  Our impact is felt far outside our walls and ripples beyond the experiences we offer – locally, nationally, and internationally.

Our Values:

Inclusive, Connected, Sustainable, Daring, Joyful

Our Strategic Framework Goals:

Excite and Engage audiences and communities.

Fuel creative ambition.

Invest in our people and culture.

Revitalise our place.

Build an enterprising business.

Working in line with our values.

Purpose of Director for Buildings and Renewal

This role will manage the significant impact the physical estate of Barbican Centre and Guildhall School of Music and Drama has on the experience of millions of visitors, partners, staff, students, residents, artists and performers as well on the Barbican’s and the Guildhall School’s financial and environmental/sustainability and performance. The relationship between the Barbican and the School is called the ‘Alliance’ and a priority in the first year of this assignment will be to assess, review and recommend an appropriate resourcing model to deliver the objectives (both now and the future) for all entities in the Alliance.

The role has the unique vantage point of managing the specific challenges of the Barbican and School estates as well as leading the ambitions of our bold and visionary new plans, particularly through Barbican Renewal.

Key aspects of this role will include strategic organisational planning and operational leadership, advising on estate management matters and driving value, including through the use of third party/outsourced service providers in collaboration with the City of London’s City Surveyor. It will also drive and coordinate a fit for purpose approach to planned and reactive maintenance, security, health and safety, project and facilities management.  

The Director for Buildings and Renewal will ensure infrastructure and any relevant capital projects are delivered on time, to scope, to quality and within budget.

Developing strong relationships internally and externally to ensure strategies are aligned across all operational business areas, the role will identify opportunities and continuously improve methods of delivery.

Organisational Leadership

This role is part of the Directors’ Group and directly reports to the CEO of the Barbican Centre

The Directors’ Group are working together, across the organisation to deliver transformational change – challenging how we work with our audiences, change the culture of the Barbican, pursue creative ambition, look after and revitalise our place, how we rebuild and leverage our business, and how we do all of this in line with our values, particularly in creating a welcome experience for all who have an interaction with the Barbican.  All directors sign up to shared KPIs to deliver on our bold ambition, regardless of their functional areas of responsibility. 

Specialist Leadership

The role of the Director for Buildings and Renewal is to develop and deliver on our organisational strategy as it pertains to the ongoing operation and maintenance of our buildings and facilities, ensuring Barbican Renewal will both restore and transform the Centre.  The role is also our lead in all things to do with Climate Action and sustainability, as the most significant impact we can have is through our buildings.

In our Strategic Framework we describe this as Revitalise our Place and this role will have accountability around this goal.

This work will include the development and delivery of detailed plans (both strategic and tactical) to deliver on our aspirations, particularly around building renewal, development and operation.  It will ensure that our buildings are safe and compliant and that our place is a fully inclusive, and welcoming environment that’s fit for the presentation of our creative ambition in the years before, during and after renewal is complete.

Furthermore, this role will have accountability and oversight of a number of contracts and services (both current and some being formed). They will need to ensure that value for money, service delivery, innovation and environmental sustainability, audience sensitivity and staff well-being and productivity are at the heart of key decisions.

In addition to this we have a responsibility to mitigate against the climate crisis and our buildings and facilities play a material role in that ambition, and this role will lead that work.

Working with their Heads of Departments, the Director will be accountable for the delivery of the Engineering (including buildings compliance and buildings risk management), Projects, Barbican Renewal and Climate Action, Safety and Security activities, with oversight of everything that happens in the Centre related to these activities.

The Director will work with the Director Group in the delivery of our overall Strategic Framework but will be directly accountable for:

  • Building Renewal, development, and operation
  • Responding to the Climate Crisis
  • Review of Operational Support of the Guildhall School


The post is responsible for developing and enhancing relationships with stakeholders internally and external to the Centre, including in the City of London Corporation (of which the Barbican is a part) – to look up and out and ensure that the Barbican is contemporary and relevant in the industry, community, and City of which we are a part.

As a member of the Directors’ Group, this role is an important governance interface between the Board, Sub Committees of the Board and the organisation. 


The Director is to be a role model for working in line with our values and professional standards – to be a good leader and will offer technical expertise in their field.  They motivate, mentor, and align their team – taking time to nurture a healthy culture that is inclusive and sustainable.  They share and celebrate success with their team. This is central to organisational success and is therefore a primary purpose for the role.

The Director should be curious, challenges the status quo and facilitates the removal of friction from internal processes, systems and relationships.

Main Duties & Responsibilities

Directors’ Group

  • To be an active member of the Directors’ Group, defining and delivering on strategy, and shaping culture. 
  • Be a leader in the Management Team, provide direction and inspiration to all management team members. 


  • To devise and implement a Renewal, Building Development and Operational Plan that reflects and responds to the needs of the Barbican Strategic Framework. To deliver transformative building spaces and services so that we deliver on our purpose.  Work with the CEO, City Surveyor and Chamberlain on funding strategies. Be accountable for the optimal use of funds and ensure value for money across all budget streams.
  • To provide cross organisational leadership and drive major strategic and operational change in how the organisation works, improving its culture in relation to the Building; develop an integrated and collaborative approach across all departments to ensure the building operates within safe, compliant and statutory parameters.

Leadership of Building and Renewal

  • To take overall responsibility for safety and compliance through Barbican Renewal.
  • Working with your Heads of Department and Team, devise divisional strategies and plans to guide day to day activity, medium and long-term plans.  Employ co-design approaches wherever you can.
  • Leadership of staff in the Buildings and Renewal team – implementing clear plans with tangible outcomes and leading and empowering staff in delivering these plans.
  • Ensure appropriate management structures are in place for the day to day running of the department and team and that all operational and supervisory requirements are covered.
  • Provide strong motivation, support, and regular checking-in on progress,  inspirational drive and embracing change as required to deliver new strategies. 
  • Provide generous and regular feedback to your team, helping them reach success, course correct and learn and grow.
  • Assist your team members (individually and collectively) to shape a sustainable workload and practice.  Be a good listener and be prepared to step in to assist where required.
  • To be responsible for the efficient and effective management of the financial resources allocated to the Building and Renewal teams and ensure that all compliance procedures are adhered to (procurement, payment cards etc).
  • As the Barbican’s lead in Building and Renewal, develop robust business cases, and secure approvals and funding to deliver on Barbican Renewal over successive years.


  • To work closely with the Barbican Board and Board of Trustees providing specialist Engineering and Project expertise, to enable members to make the right decisions and advocate for Barbican Renewal.
  • To be a member of the Barbican Directors group and Management Team, attending Board meetings, Barbican Trust meetings, contributing to the strategic and operational management of the Barbican.


  • To attend events (artistic, corporate and City of London) to network and develop relationships with key influencers.
  • To develop relationships across our sector and the City, pertinent to your area of expertise, particularly the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Town Clerk’s, Chamberlain’s and the City Surveyor’s Departments.

Risk Management and Business Continuity

  • Identify, manage, cost mitigate and report on all risks associated with the Barbican and Schools and GSMD estates.
  • Ensure there is a managed process for all realised risks/issues controlling costs and outcomes.
  • Ensure there are comprehensive updated BCP and disaster recovery plans at all times, act as the lead on behalf of the Director Group, making sure the plans are funded, shared, communicated and rehearsed as necessary.

Estates Management

  • Finance: The role is responsible for revenue budgets of £13.6m across the Barbican Centre and The School, and the Barbican Renewal budget of between £50 – £150m. Ensure robust financial processes to safeguard and manage all budgets. Oversee and as appropriate lead and/or work closely with the CoL in the procurement of contracts and services. Ensure value for money, innovation, equality and environmental sustainability is at the heart of key financial decisions.
  • Oversee the development of asset management plans with the City Surveyor.
  • Manage all landlord/tenant/third party associate agreements/relationships with the support of the City Surveyor
  • Outsourced service provision management: Ensure FM services are proactively managed, user focused and deliver value for money with an effective balance between reactive and proactive delivery. Champion continuous improvement and process enhancement.
  • Regulatory compliance including security, planning and licensing: Ensure appropriate policies and procedures are in place and regularly reviewed to ensure statutory and regulatory compliance, recognising our listed status and home to a vast array of activities and associates.
  • Maintenance: Oversee the delivery of long-term maintenance and reactive maintenance projects, with accountability for delivering high quality outcomes within agreed timescales and budgets.
  • Operational Plans: Ensure that long term maintenance is integrated and complementary across CoL.

Health, Safety

  • To provide strategic direction and lead the planning, development, implementation, monitoring and review of the health, safety and wellbeing strategy, policies, standard and management systems.
  • To advise on, and recommend to the CEO and Directors’ Group, the setting of health and safety policy, objectives and performance measures. To produce an annual health and safety plan and regular performance reports.
  • Ensure the Barbican and the School are fully compliant with all legislation/statutory obligations including the Building Safety Act


  • To be responsible for the provision of physical, procedural, document and electronic security throughout the estate including direction, strategic development, performance and maintenance.
  • Ensure compliance with legal/statutory responsibilities and regulatory bodies; achieve complete security management systems that are compatible and compliment the new Audience Strategy. Ensure the Centre is adequately prepared for Martyn’s law.
  • Ensure appropriate direction and management of the outsourced third-party security contractor in conjunction with the City Surveyor’s Department.

Asset Management, Space Utilisation, Business Continuity Management

  • To cover accountability for
  • Space utilisation
  • Asset Management
  • Internal Coordination and Communication


  • The Barbican Centre and Guildhall School are currently reviewing arrangements that have been in place under an Alliance.  This is no longer sustainable and we are actively working through how design a model which is more sustainable and effective.  This role will be instrumental (in year 1) in resetting roles, responsibilities and interfaces with the School and City Surveyors.
  • To carry out any other appropriate duties, as directed by the CEO.
  • Actively seek to implement the City of London’s Equal Opportunity Policy and the objective to promote equality of opportunity in relation to the duties of the post, ensuring that all clients, contacts, and employees are treated fairly and with dignity and respect.
  • To actively seek to implement the City of London’s Occupational Health and Safety Policy in relation to the duties of the post, and at all times give regard to the health and safety of both themselves and others when carrying out their duties.

If you are an inclusive and leader looking for a new challenge, please contact our recruitment advisors at McLean Public:
Jonathan Swain on 07733 304094 or Rebecca Rampat on 07957 730837.

  • CV
  • Supporting Statement

Deadline for applications: 24 November 2023, 09:00

Online psychometric tests: 29 November – 6 December 2023

Fireside chats: 4 December, in person, throughout the day at the Barbican 

Colleague engagement panel: 6 December, in person, at the Barbican 

Final panel interviews: 12 December, in person, at the Barbican

McLean Public is committed to inclusive recruitment practices. If there are any adjustments required to enable a more accessible experience, please do not hesitate to let us know.

Share this role

Barbican Centre


Closing date: 24th November 2023


Sign up for the latest news, insights and to be on our invite list for events