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Thursday31 July 2014

Goldfinger estate reprieved

Goldfinger’s Trellick Tower.
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Council votes against demolishing homes at base of Trellick Tower

Residents of an Erno Goldfinger-designed estate at the base of his famous Trellick Tower in west London have successfully fought off the local council’s threat of demolition.

Homeowners and tenants of Edenham Way, which is part of Goldfinger’s Cheltenham Estate in North Kensington, launched a campaign to save the estate in February, after Kensington & Chelsea Borough Council commissioned a feasibility study by Terry Farrell & Partners as part of a wider redevelopment of the area’s housing.

The council had already approved and carried out the demolition of the original old people’s home and part of the garage complex on the estate, which includes the grade II listed Trellick Tower.

But at a meeting last week, the council revealed that its cabinet had voted against demolishing the estate in the current climate.

As BD went to press, the local authority was due to make a formal announcement to residents on Thursday, to include a consultation on finding a new use for the old people’s home site.

Aisha Muhammad, president of the estate’s residents’ association, said: “We still need to think in terms of getting some of the houses listed to protect them in the future. But we are relieved. Quite a few of the people here have actually bought their houses.

“It is disgraceful that [Kensington & Chelsea] should have even contemplated demolishing a historic building built by Goldfinger.”

The residents’ campaign to save Goldfinger’s estate was championed by local councillor Emma Dent Coad. It included the commissioning of a masterplan for the site from Novarc Studio.

It also involved a petition, which gathered more than 900 signatures, including that of Alan Powers, chairman of the Twentieth Century Society, which submitted a listing bid for Edenham Way in July.

Other signatories included Docomomo co-chairman James Dunnett, who worked with Goldfinger and is relieved by the residents’ victory.

“To pull it down would have been outrageous,” he said. “That’s no way to treat the setting of one of the great pieces of architecture of the 20th century. The tower and its setting should be seen as one.”

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Readers' comments (2)

  • A great piece of architecture? Give me a break. We'll never advance as a nation when people kick up such a fuss every time someone has the courage to suggest tearing down an eyesore. The same with Guy's hospital, how much longer will that monstrosity be kept in its current form?

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  • I live opposite this estate and though a fan of much modern architecture cannot see a reason to preserve this. It is exceptionally ugly and ill fitting with its canal side location. There is no sense at all that it is part of the setting of Trellick Tower - if anything Trellick would be enhanced with its removal. The idea that is worth preserving merely because it is Goldfinger and ‘historical’ seems absurd. Why? Because it is good example of misguided modernist thinking on social housing? Historical? It dates back to the 1960's. In the end it is just a building and rather poor one at that I can think of many locals who not only would want to see this gone but Trellick Tower as well – it quite ridiculous as above to describe it as "one of the great pieces of architecture of the 20th Century". Perhaps the time has come to step back and revaluate its importance - there seems an absurd reverance attached to it and Goldfinger. The truth might be that this outcome was perhaps fuelled by a cynical campaign by local councillors who have previously demonstrated a desire to block any change in the Golbourne Ward. Cynical in that they resist anything that will change local socio demographics, even if it might be good for the area and its population as a whole. Perhaps little to do with architecture and more with electoral majorities.

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