The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Click to see full size: photos © Elizabeth Hopkirk
Entrance lobby © Elizabeth Hopkirk
Corridor on 18th floor © Elizabeth Hopkirk
Trellick flat © Elizabeth Hopkirk
Windows in service tower © Elizabeth Hopkirk
Trellick from Golborne Road © Elizabeth Hopkirk

100 Buildings 100 Years

1972: Trellick Tower, London

Status: Listed Grade II*
Condition: Fair condition
Type: Housing
Architect: Ernő Goldfinger
Owners: Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Location: 7 Golborne Rd, London W10 5NY

It’s a testament to the Trellick Tower’s striking silhouette that at least one west London child grew up believing Father Christmas lived at the top of Ernő Goldfinger’s flats. Her parents had no need to reach for a location more exotic than the tower’s lofty, sentinel-like control room to articulate their particular version of the story.

Its unique profile means many Londoners – and users of the Westway – feel a sense of attachment to the Trellick Tower that is enjoyed by few other blocks of flats.

It has travelled in the public consciousness from bold symbol of the future to pariah and back again, swapping council tenants for owner-occupiers in the process.

So familiar on the skyline, its form changes thrillingly as one approaches. Inside the surprises are all about colour, from the unexpected stained glass in the lobby to the colour-coding of each floor. The ornamention naturally extends into each flat but I was still startled to find one resident had painted the inside of his balcony vivid orange. I felt like I had been let in on a secret almost as exciting as the one about Father Christmas.

by Elizabeth Hopkirk

Listing description

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