Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Trellick Tower

Trellick Tower is a 31-storey block of flats in North Kensington, London, England. It was designed in the Brutalist style by architect Ernő Goldfinger, after a commission from the Greater London Council in 1966, and completed in 1972. It is a Grade II* listed building and is 98 metres (322 ft) tall (120 metres (394 ft) including the communications mast).

Goldfinger's design is based on his earlier and slightly smaller Balfron Tower (in Poplar, east London), and is in effect a sister building. It is also similar to Anniesland Court in Glasgow, design by J Holmes & Partners and completed in 1968. It has a long, thin profile, with a separate lift and service tower linked at every third storey to the access corridors in the main building; flats above and below the corridor levels have internal stairs. The building contains 217 flats and was originally entirely owned by the GLC with the flats rented as council flats. Shortly after its completion the building was transferred to the local council (the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea). Most of the flats are still social housing, but a significant minority are now privately owned.
The tower was completed at a time when high-rise tower blocks were going out of fashion as local authorities were beginning to realise the social problems they caused. By the late 1970s Trellick Tower had a very poor reputation for crime (rapes in elevators and staircases, children attacked by drug addicts) and anti-social behaviour, and many tenants resisted a transfer there. However, with the introduction of the 'right to buy' council homes, many of the flats were bought by the tenants.
On 8 October 1984 a new residents' association was formed. As a result of pressure from the occupants, several security improvements including a door entry intercom system and the employment of a concierge were undertaken from the mid-1980s. Property prices rose and flats in the tower came to be regarded as highly desirable residences by some people, despite the slightly gritty edge which remains. Private properties inside the tower now (Sept 2007) sell for between £250,000 for a one-bedroom flat to £465,000 for three-bedrooms, whilst the tower itself has become something of a local cult landmark and was awarded a Grade II* listing in 1998.

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