The 31-storey high monolith in North Kensington was designed to be an exemplary model of postwar welfare state housing. Like Balfron, its older twin in east London, Trellick is split into dwelling unit and the service tower containing all the noisy bits, such as lifts, heating and pumps. Goldfinger’s idea was that this would allow the inhabitants to enjoy their spacious, sun-filled flats and breathtaking views across London undisturbed by noise pollution. Unfortunately for architect and residents, tower-blocks had gone out of fashion by the time Trellick was built. Low funding and lack of security resulted in crime, vandalism and deaths. By the end of the decade, Trellick was nicknamed ‘Tower of Terror’. In the eighties its fortunes turned under new management. It was awarded Grade II status in 1998. Today Trellick is transforming from archetypal brute to brutalist beau. Though demand for privately owned flats is high, the majority of dwellings is still social housing. Update: following a refurbishment in 2017-2018, the boiler room window frames are back to black – Mr Goldfinger’s original choice of colour.
Ernö Goldfinger, London 1972
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