Tag Archives: goldfinger

Trellick Tower – London

Trellick Tower – London
Construction: 1968-1972
Architect: Erno Goldfinger

For some a classic, for others an ugly blight on the landscape. Trellick Tower is an embodiment of the modernist tenet of ‘form follows function’, with each aspect of its distinctive shape determined by the requirements of the people living within. The main block of the 31 storey tower takes the form of thin slab, enabling all apartments to have windows on either side of the building, giving fantastic views of the city to all residents. Noisy and potentially smelly amenities – lifts, stairs, launderettes and rubbish chute – are located in a separate service tower which is crowned by the boiler room. The service tower is connected to the main slab by glazed walkways at every third floor to ensure a speedy lift service. On the ground floor there is a doctors surgery, shops, and a bookies.

The tower is constructed primarily of in situ cast concrete, with a sandy colour and a rather coarse aggregate. The bush hammered finish gives a rough texture which adds to the uncompromising feel of the building.

It was a beautiful day when I visited, the sun was shining and everyone seemed happy. Two young men answered questions from a tourist as they topped up a nearby graffiti wall (I’m assuming it was all legit). One chap proudly told me that the building I was photographing was very famous, one woman even offered to pose for some shots on her mobility scooter. You get the sense that there is a great community spirit around the place.

Trellick Tower was grade II* listed in 2008, the listing can be found here. The building is the subject of an episode of the BBC series which can be viewed here.



Alexander Fleming House (Metro Central Heights) – London

Alexander Fleming House – London
Construction: 1967
Architect: Erno Goldfinger

Originally home to the Ministry of Health and named Alexander Fleming House, these buildings were converted to apartments and renamed Metro Central Heights in 1997. The development consists of several blocks connected by elegant multi level glazed walkways. The exterior surfaces are broken up by projecting sections, distributed seemingly at random. Formerly an understated beige concrete finish, during the conversion to apartments the building got a makeover and was painted white and given bright blue panels below the windows. While purists like myself might think this is tantamount to vandalism, it is certainly preferable to demolition, which was a very real threat for a time. So don’t let the colour scheme fool you, this is first class brutalism from one of the style’s finest exponents.

Metro Central Heights was grade II listed in 2013

1-3 Willow Road – London

1-3 Willow Road – London
Construction: 1939
Architect: Erno Goldfinger

Goldfinger designed this small row of houses in 1939 and lived with his family at number two until his death in 1987. The house is now owned by the National Trust, who offer tours in the morning and an open house in the afternoon for a cost of £6 to non trust members. I certainly don’t begrudge paying that to maintain the place and keep it open to the public. It’s fascinating to have a wander around Goldfinger’s office and living room, look at his bookshelf and collection of art. The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable, answering all of our questions and giving us interesting tit-bits of information. One interesting thing I noticed is that while the rest of the house is quite spacious, the kitchen is incredibly small. I guess he wasn’t much into cooking.

The exterior of the building is quite conservative, the brick facing allowing it to blend seamlessly into suburban Hampstead. However, modernist elements such as the flat roof, the large ribbon window and the concrete columns mark it out from the other buildings in the area, giving us a taste of his future work.

Here’s the link to the National Trust page for the building: