Trellick Tower
5 Golborne Road
London W10 5PL

Ernö Goldfinger 1967-1972

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 decor. 

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 Corbusier's Unité d'habitation in Marseille, of which Trellick is a somewhat diluted but higher-rise variant.

Goldfinger saw his role very much as an artist, bringing a view of the social future as well as the functional present:

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 total).

To visit the interior, look out for opportunities in London's annual late-September 'open house' weekend ( Tours for Trellick on this weekend normally need to be booked in advance.

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