ERNØ GOLDFINGER'S LAST STAND



Work started on Trellick in 1968 & was completed four years later.

Today, the Tower can be seen as something of a last stand by high-rise architects. It was Goldfinger's last commission, & for many years his least popular. In true Modernist fashion, Goldfinger's Tower paid little heed to its surroundings - it dwarves nearby buildings, & its Brutalist concrete exterior makes it even more striking.

Whilst architects like Alison & Peter Smithson were seriously questioning the wisdom of modernist high-rise buildings, Erno Goldfinger was blaming the people who lived in Trellick Tower for its problems - "I built skyscrapers for people to live in there & now they messed them up - disgusting." Well, the attitude of the people & management have vastly improved since then as Trellick Tower of today is a joy to live in.

TRELLICK TOWER'S REVIVAL

Trellick is now managed by the same Tenants' Management Organisation running Kensal House.

Under the TMO's guidance, security systems like CCTV & a concierge have been installed, & crime has fallen in & around the building. The flats themselves are large by tower-block standards, & packed with space-saving devices. The bathrooms are each of minimal dimension, & the doors of wood & glass slide rather than open out, & can be used to partition certain parts of each flat.

Glass is plentiful in order to let in as much natural light as possible. The idea of these "living units" is modelled on Le Corbusier's Unite d'Habitation. Adjoining the main tower is a service tower. This incorporates lifts, stairs, & refuse chutes, as well as a boiler house. The lifts stop at every third floor, meaning that in some flats the bedrooms are above, & in some below, the entrance level.

The flats have large balconies which, if you are high enough up, offer views across the North Downs.

Trellick Tower stands today as a monument to Modernism's revival. Unlike system built blocks such as Ronan Point, it is structurally sound & has survived to see the deficiencies in its service elements rectified. Trellick has had 24 hour concierge & security for over a decade.

The story of Trellick suggests that when a tower block is properly managed, high-rise living is viable.

For a detailed history you'd love this Wikipedia link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trellick_Tower


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Inside my flat in Trellick Tower

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Copyright CHRIS PAULSEN 2007