If you are travelling in or out of London along the A40 Westway, Ladbroke Grove area, you just cannot miss Trellik Tower. This ‘monster’ of a building at the end of Goldborne Rd is an undeniable London landmark. For years I have looked at it in disbelief that such a building could be built in the the West London a stone’s throw from the affluent and very beautiful Ladbroke Grove. A couple of years ago I happened to see a documentary about it which intrigued me even more.
Trellik Tower was designed in the ‘Brutalist’ style ( and Brutalist it certainly is) by Hungarian architect Erno Goldfinger ( now that is some name) in 1966 and completed in 1972. It contains 217 flats, each a maisonette and alongside it lies its ‘Service block’ with a separate lift which connects to the main building on every 3rd floor.
The idea being that the service block contained the lift, refuge shoots and laundry rooms. At the top of the service block tower lies the ‘plant room’ which grouped together the boilers and hot water tanks reducing the need for pumps and extensive pipework and leaving the main building purely for ‘living’.
As a block of council flats in the 1970’s it became synonymous with anti-social behaviour, racial tension and troubled youth .Most council tenants placed here put their names on the list to flee the problematic building as soon as they could. In 1982 the then ‘Greater London Council’ finally spent money on getting an entry phone and concierge system for the building and in 1984 the tenants formed a residents association and the rest as they say, is history. With the option to buy, many flats were privatised. The corner flats having views to all 3 sides became a sought after destination. In 1988 Trellik Tower was awarded it’s ‘Grade II’ listing ( ie this building is now in the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest and cannot be altered or taken down) ,the local estate agents would have you believe that it is now fashionable and desirable. The truth is that the privately owned flats sell for several hundred thousands of Pounds. But the jury is still split, some say it’s tenants love it , London’s pop culture sing about it and it is often a backdrop for films and commercials ( there are even coach load of tourists brought here to photograph it). Others say that despite the hype this is still an eye-sore and a problem spot. And as for the immediate views? well, it does lie directly above an extensive rail link, and the rail bridge adjacent to it is a great object in photographic terms but not sure I would call it an item of beauty.
My verdict: I am well and truly fascinated but… not looking to buy.