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 residents to enjoy their spacious, sunny flats and breathtaking views of London undisturbed by noise pollution.
Unfortunately for architect and residents, tower-blocks had gone out of fashion by the time Trellick was built. Lack of funding and security led to crime, vandalism and deaths. By the end of the decade, Trellick had earned the nickname ‘Tower of Terror’. In the eighties its fortunes turned around 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 flats 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.