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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Social Housing
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Erno Goldfinger
  6. 1972
  7. AD Classics: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger

AD Classics: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger

AD Classics: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger
AD Classics: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger

AD Classics: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger AD Classics: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger AD Classics: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger AD Classics: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger +21

  • Architects

  • Location

    London, England
  • Architect

    Erno Goldfinger
  • References

    www.galinsky.com, www.housingprototypes.org, www.open2.net, www.modernarchitecturelondon.com
  • Project Year

    1972

From the architect. The Trellick Tower is an iconic structure located in west London, England. It has gone through numerous phases of public perception, most notably its notorious nickname as the “Tower of Terror.”

Designed as social housing for the local council, it features numerous unconventional design elements. Architect Erno Goldfinger, drew inspiration from the modernist principles of Le Corbusier's Unite d’Habitation for the tower’s dwelling units.  

Standing at 31 stories and 322 feet tall, the Trellick Tower’s Brutalist architectural style dominates the immediate skyline. It is loosely based on Goldfinger’s earlier and smaller Balfron Tower of similar style and construction. Its completion in 1972 marked the end of an era of high-rise tower blocks, which were losing popularity due to the inherently negative social problems that plagued them. Incorporated into the design are two volumes of different but interconnected function. 

Axonometric
Axonometric

The main volume features the dwelling units, while a thin service tower connected at every third floor to the main tower houses the stairs, lifts, and mechanical plant.

One of the most unique features besides the distinct separation of service from dwelling is the method for which the flats are accessed. Nine different types of two level flats are designed with the main entry lying on every third floor that connects to the service tower. Once inside the flat, an internal stairway directs occupants up or down into the next volume of the flat. By limiting the internal public corridors, the flat spaces above and below are able to feature spaces that stretch across the floor plate, exposing windows on both sides. 

This method of design offered up some of the largest flats by conventional tower block standards at the time. Known for his detailing, Goldfinger took care when designing the units. He called for dual pane glazing to help mitigate sound transmission, designed pivoting window systems for ease of cleaning, and specified individual fan coil units for each flat. Numerous space saving devices are incorporated into the design. One example is the entrance to the bathrooms where sliding doors are used in place of traditional swing doors, which would have consumed valuable floor space.

Site Axonometric
Site Axonometric

The service tower component contains the majority of the mechanical equipment in the uppermost regions. A large cantilevered plant room at the top houses an oil fired boiler along with water storage tanks. 

The two were grouped together in order to reduce the amount of piping and virtually eliminate the need for pumps, as water could then flow down to the flats through gravity. Interestingly, the oil powered equipment was short lived as the 1973 Oil Crisis rendered them too costly, and the flats were converted to electric heating. In staying true to his attention to detail, Goldfinger insulated the bridge elements from the main structures with neoprene gaskets in order to mitigate vibration.

Exposed concrete structure defines the aesthetics of the exterior through a simple geometric language playing with the horizontality and verticality of the various elements. 

The north faCade features fully glazed gallery windows and continues the horizontal element of the bridges along the length of the access levels. Treatment of the south faCade is articulated through the positioning of the two types of balconies, which along with the vertical supporting structure mimic the voids created by the bridging of the two vertical masses.

Section
Section

Although, the Trellick Tower suffered from years of neglect and a crime ridden atmosphere, it has since redeemed itself. Its designation in 1998 as a Grade II* listed building assisted in this turnaround. The local environment has seen significant reduction in crime and a change in perception with addition of CCTV and a concierge service. 

Section
Section

While a few flats are privately owned, the majority of the units are still utilized as social housing. The Trellick Tower stands as testament to the Modernist movement and its unapologetic Brutalist concrete exterior.

Flat Plans
Flat Plans
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: Tim Winstanley. "AD Classics: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger" 28 Aug 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/151227/ad-classics-trellick-tower-erno-goldfinger/>
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31 Comments

William Bilyeu · November 20, 2013

The Trellick Tower breaks away from the repetitious blocks of flats which were being erected throughout London after WWII, by building up 31 stories and developing a sense of community within the tower through the main circulation elevator only stopping every three stories, with stairs inter-connecting the remaining floors. The building’s design reflects multiple aspects of modernism, from the Brutalist style to the International style and Le Corbusier’s five points of architecture; which is represented predominantly on the exterior of the building with the separation of the service tower and the resident’s tower, the use of materials, and the fortress-like aesthetics.

Ali Benali Hocine · February 28, 2012

http://t.co/nDtGsCRL /via @ArchDaily sur les traces de Le Corbusier - tour

Kevin Parent · September 27, 2011

My favourite piece of residential #architecture, with clever interlocking spaces: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger http://ow.ly/6ED5b #like

Rob Scott · September 27, 2011

My favourite piece of residential #architecture, with clever interlocking spaces: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger http://ow.ly/6ED5b #like

ArchiTutorials · September 27, 2011

My favourite piece of residential #architecture, with clever interlocking spaces: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger http://ow.ly/6EDao #like

Matthew Blaikie · September 07, 2011

@CharleneClear the bold profile of the brutalist Trellick Tower. A firm favourite of mine. http://t.co/mKl86m5

minima_design · September 01, 2011

AD Classics: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger | ArchDaily http://t.co/0Xkigid vía @archdaily

Alexander Clement · August 31, 2011

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CordobArquitectos · August 30, 2011

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Y?ld?ray Ata? · August 30, 2011

AD Classics: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger | ArchDaily – http://t.co/7s8WqA1

McGregor Bowes · August 29, 2011

AD Classics: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger | ArchDaily http://t.co/948jLWD via @archdaily

david basulto · August 29, 2011

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Ali Benali Hocine · August 29, 2011

http://t.co/4htPgzH /via @ArchDaily- pour memoire, sur les traces de Le Corbusier - Trellic Tower, Erno Goldfinger 1972

Tamsin Wilson · August 29, 2011

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Patrick Greene · August 29, 2011

Another favorite: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger http://t.co/JlHei1z #architecture

daniella molina · August 29, 2011

AD Classics: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger | ArchDaily http://t.co/BRboKg2 via @archdaily

Manuel Gonzalez ?. · August 29, 2011

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John Joseph Burns · August 29, 2011

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Günther · August 29, 2011

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Erik Joya · August 29, 2011

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Arquitectura · August 29, 2011

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ArchitecturePassion · August 29, 2011

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Interaria · August 29, 2011

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arch_related · August 29, 2011

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Adhie Indreswara · August 29, 2011

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Architecture+Molding · August 29, 2011

AD Classics: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger: The Trellick Tower is an iconic structure located in west London,... http://t.co/9q6Fi6w

GR2TF · August 29, 2011

AD Classics: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger: ©www.flickr.com / Jim LinwoodThe Trellick Tower is an iconic stru... http://t.co/bUSq9Yu

Archifront · August 29, 2011

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him + her · August 29, 2011

Architecture AD Classics: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger: The Trellick Tower is an iconic struct... http://t.co/p5vwJBl #architecture

Robin Sondergaard · August 29, 2011

via @archdaily AD Classics: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger http://t.co/jHLNl1i #Architecture

Architekt R V Scholz · August 29, 2011

#architekt #Cottbus AD Classics: Trellick Tower / Erno Goldfinger: The Trellick Tower is an... http://t.co/kum1Pcc #in http://dy.cx/c03

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