Posted by: Gary Klaukka | April 19, 2009

Trellick Tower

As I have now moved to a slightly more central location in London, it is easier for me to do urban expeditions on foot. Today I took a stroll up Portobello Road and down Golborne Road. I was confronted with a view of a street lined with pastel-coloured terraced houses, and a massive modernist tower in front of me (see photo). It was, of course, Trellick Tower – a modernist block of flats designed by Ernő Goldfinger. 31 storeys high, it was built in 1972. Unfortunately to Mr Goldfinger, at the time, it was seen to demonstrate why modernist tower blocks were not the answer to London’s housing situation. As the enclosed photographs show, the service tower (which has the lift in it) only goes to every third floor. The original design did not include security at the front door, making the design open to abuse (there were reports of rapes, muggings and murders in the tower shortly after its opening). The tabloid press were quick to dub the complex the “Tower of Terror.”

The building has been improved days and is apparently particularly popular among arcitechts and other fans of modernist buildings. While it is mostly social housing, there is an increasing number of privately-owned flats in the building. Security in the building was improved in the 1990s with the introduction of CCTV and a concierge system. One must not forget that the views from the flats span across the entire of London.

Another of Goldfinger’s earlier designs was Balfron Tower, in Poplar. An expedition to East London can be expected within the next month.

As a meta-note, I feel compelled to say that I always feel slightly anxious going to areas just with my camera in hand to snap photos. Whilst I have never encountered any problems, I am always more alert than usual. At the end of today’s expedition, a group of youths shouted: “Hey, hey, estate agent! You in the jeans!” to me. I ended up not responding to them, but it gave me a picture of how some people may perceive my walking around taking photos of buildings!

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Responses

  1. im actually really pleased dat goldfinger designed trellick tower block,its just n amazing tower. .da design is so different from other tower blocks u see these days..to me da tower block is not ugly its beautiful just lyk balfron estate in poplar. .but i prefer trellick. .if i was to live in trellick tower i wouldnt say no ! n da veiw of trellick is just lyk wow n as 4 da name ‘trellick’ its amazin

  2. […] Some time ago I visited Trellick Tower, which is one of Ernő Goldfinger’s more prominent modernist creations. A couple of weeks ago […]

  3. I used to live on Goldborne Estate just on the other side of the train tracks from Trellick Tower, and had a fantastic view of the building from all the windows at the back of the flat, as well as from the backyard, of course. I got the impression that it is very difficult to get a flat in Trellick tower because they are so valued by the community around the area. For me the tower holds very fond memories indeed, and I hope I can return to Goldborne some time. I have yet to meet a more open and vibrant community in London than I did here!

  4. […] are anonymous-looking concrete tower blocks. Now, I am not one to dislike a good tower block: London’s Trellick Tower (I have linked a blog post I have written about the tower) or the Barbican are structures which I […]


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