Many know Trellick Tower for its brutalist architecture. And Brutalist architecture is often presumed to be intimidating, threatening, harsh and.....brutal.
But in almost all cases, this style of architecture was intended to offer high quality, long lasting living spaces that worked for people. Trellick's architect, Ernö Goldfinger, was famously known to have spent time in his buildings, engaging with the residents. He took lessons from his buildings in the East end of London, including Trellick's older sister Balfron Tower, to refine and improve the new building in West London.
Built to rehouse families displaced by the construction of the Blackwall Tunnel, the Brownfield Estate was designed by Ernö Goldfinger, a Hungarian-born architect and furniture designer at the forefront of the modernist movement. The London County Council approved Goldfinger’s plans in 1959 and by 1965 building was underway for phase one of the development, which included the construction of Balfron Tower, the high-rise concrete tower block shown in this photograph.
Goldfinger wanted his tower to be a “landmark building” with a “high sense of visual drama”
Undoubtedly Goldfinger succeeded in creating a high sense of drama. But with that, it may be easy to forget or ignore the natural spaces that exist around these unerringly solid concrete landmarks. Everything becomes about the building.
At Trellick Tower, something very very special exists around the base of the tower. The area is filled with spaces that thrive with nature and natural life, blessed with a canal, 4 acres of well-kept community gardens, and an open grass graffiti space.
It was called “Meanwhile Gardens” as an act of defiance.
Jamie McCollough, who was the artist, engineer and visionary who founded it, struggled to get all the permissions, paperwork and money to transform this derelict, fenced-in land in what was then North Paddington into a garden for the whole community.
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Trellick Tower is home to a diverse community. Including a family of Peregrine falcons. Photographer Robin Lawrence describes the family scene....
The images show the mother and last chick in the nest, the mother buzzing the chick in an attempt to get it to fly, the first short flight of the chick up to higher roof level and taking a rest before taking its first proper flight. It then returns to the roof where it is met and greeted by one of its siblings before they both walk along the edge of the roof out of sight.
- R Lawrence, photographer