Monday, September 23, 2013
Inside Trellick Tower
I was first in line when I arrived at Trellick Tower yesterday morning for the Open House London tours. I couldn't believe it! I raced over there at 8:30 a.m. for tours beginning two hours later, and I thought there would already be a queue. As it turned out, though, people began arriving just minutes after me, and by the time the doors opened the line was long enough that there were doubts everyone would be able to get inside.
So thanks to my early-morning industriousness, enjoy this tour of Trellick Tower!
As I've written before, the tower was designed in the late 1960s by the Hungarian architect Ernö Goldfinger. It opened in 1972, a reinforced concrete Brutalist structure with 31 floors and 217 apartments. You can see the exterior in my photo here.
Above is the elevator lobby on the ground floor, with its colorful glass windows.
Our tour took us first to the 18th floor, where the elevator lobby was tiled bright yellow. The elevators are housed in a vertical structure connected by walkways to the main building every three floors.
The corridors are brightly tiled and painted, which helps make what could otherwise be a grim, institutional space more cheerful.
The flats themselves feature window walls and spacious balconies with terrific views. The flat above is a one-bedroom. (We saw all the rooms, but I didn't photograph them all.)
We also saw a three-bedroom on a slightly higher floor, with a huge balcony and interior stairs connecting an upper level (kitchen and dining room) with a lower level (living room and bedrooms). Apparently quite a few of the tower's units are on two levels, staggered with stairs going up or down, which maximizes the space.
The building is still about 90 percent government housing, with only a handful of the flats privately owned. Because it is a legally protected building, permission is needed for flat owners to do any kind of renovation, and there are maintenance issues involving common areas, some of which still need work. (As you can see in the top photo, there's some kind of project requiring a temporary wooden canopy near the front entrance.)
And here's the view looking to the south, toward our neighborhood. Our bedroom windows are just to the left of that church tower in the center of the photo, in the red brick buildings -- that's where we are when we see this view of Trellick.
It was great to finally get a chance to go inside!