Covent Garden Travel Lodge – London
Architect: Geoffrey Spyer & Partners
Lambeth Towers – London
Architect: George Finch
A lovely little building south of the river, a short distance from two green spaces, and within sight of the Imperial War Museum. The building itself is an irregular arrangement of three blocks and two connecting spaces, each of varying heights. The blocks are three units wide and arranged in echelon formation. Many of the housing units protrude from the blocks, adding further to the irregularity and giving the whole a pleasingly haphazard appearance. The units are concrete framed with large windows and white infill panels, which I’m not usually a fan of, but they really work here despite inevitably looking a little grubby. The complex contains a pharmacy and a nice Turkish restaurant, which I can highly recommend, both for the location and the food.
Trellick Tower – London
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.
Les Choux de Créteil – Paris
Construction: 1969 – 1974
Architect: Gerard Grandval
I took a trip out to Créteil just to have a look at these unique buildings. The 10 ‘Cabbages of Créteil’ are set in leafy gardens which provided some much needed shade on a hot day. The curvaceous concrete balconies of the circular towers give them their distinctive sprout like appearance. Wooden shutters provide a nice contrast of materials while adding a luxurious feel.
Apparently choucroute production was big in the area during the 19th century. While that may not be to my taste, the architecture that stands there currently certainly is.
Attenborough Building – Leicester
Architect: Arup Associates
Home to Leicester University’s Arts and Humanities departments, the Attenborough Building consists of three towers clustered around a central core connected to a low rise seminar block via a raised walkway. The most distinctive feature of this construction is the windows, which angle at the top leaving the bottom to protrude from the exterior surface of the building. Ostensibly to provide ventilation to the interior, this unusual feature certainly provides an interesting texture to the exterior. Like the Sheffield University Arts Tower the Attenborough tower is serviced by a paternoster lift, although on this visit I didn’t have a ride.