trellick tower erno goldfinger kensal town london

Trellick Tower

For decades, Balfron, Trellick and the like informed what Londoners thought about what it might be like to live in a concrete tower block. They were the fodder of filmmakers looking for depictions of isolation, lawlessness and decline. They also defined several generations’ opinions about Goldfinger’s contribution to London architecture. The high-low point for inner-city concrete tower blocks came in the form of JG Ballard’s 1975 book, High-Rise. Whilst the story was actually about the other end of the scale – private ownership in a luxury block – the storyline of people who descended into what one critic described as ‘primitive, feral chaos’ played well to the anti-Goldfinger brigade.

Meanwhile, Goldfinger lived in leafy Hampstead, only a few miles from the estate. He continued to receive commissions but was fully aware of how misunderstood his housing estates were and how little support the tenants were receiving from the local councils; there was little he could do about this.



Image Louise Loughlin

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