Trellick Tower is one of
London's landmark attempts at high-rise residential living, still thriving
almost entirely as social housing but with about one tenth of the
apartments now privately owned and attracting fashionable prices and
Its complex facade reflects an
efficient arrangement of apartments in which corridors are needed only on
every third floor, with stairs up or down to a mix of flats and duplexes.
This idea, and the purity of the geometry behind it, draws strongly on Le
d'habitation in Marseille, of which Trellick is a somewhat diluted but
Goldfinger saw his role very
much as an artist, bringing a view of the social future as well as the
Whenever space is enclosed a
spatial sensation will automatically result for persons who happen to be
within it... it is the artist who comprehends the social
requirements of his time and is able to integrate the technical
potentialities in order to shape the spaces of the future.
Ernö Goldfinger 1942
Part of Trellick's distinctive
profile comes from the boiler house cantilevered out above the lifts,
adding personality to an overtly brutalist concrete lift tower. The
oil-fired boilers here to provide central heating for all the apartments.
Problems with this system, compounded by the 1973 oil crisis the year
after the building opened, mean that the boiler house was almost
immediately redundant. Apartments are now heated with electric storage
heaters, and the futuristic boiler house lies empty. (The local council
refused to accept an offer for it as a private penthouse apartment.)
Simon Glynn, 2003
How to visit
Trellick Tower is in west
London, visible next to the main railway line into Paddington Station from
west England of from Heathrow (just to the north of the line, on your left
as you approach Paddington).
The nearest tube station is
Westbourne Park. From there head north along the Great Western Road, under
the motorway flyover. Turn left into Elkstone Road, heading west with the
railway on your left. At the mini-roundabout turn right onto Golborne
Road, and Trellick Tower will be on your right (5-10 minute walk in
To visit the interior, look out
for opportunities in London's annual late-September 'open house' weekend (www.londonopenhouse.org). Tours
for Trellick on this weekend normally need to be booked in advance.
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