trellick tower


This is the Trellick Tower sketchbook. Here you can see how the illustration was created from original photo to final print, as well as how we print the shirt. You'll also find out some more about the building itself and its history.

The Trellick Tower - a famous conuncil house and a Bond villain architect

The Trellick Tower is one of the most famous council houses in the UK. It has also been called one of the ugliest buildings in the world. The 31 storey brutalist high rise building close to Notting Hill in West London was designed by Erno Goldfinger, a Hungarian born architect with a love for reinforced concrete, a supposedly short temper and a penchant for firing his assistants if they attempted to be funny. He made himself so unpopular that Ian Fleming named one of his Bond-villains after him.

Iconic 70s building

Work on the Trellick Tower started in 1966 and was finished in 1972. The building itself is 98 metres (322 ft) tall, 120 metres (194 ft) if you count the communications mast. There is a thin service tower next to the main building which houses the lifts, the rubbish chute and the emergency stairwells.

Some people mistake the Trellick Tower for a very similar building in Poplar in east London, the Balfron Tower, which is slightly smaller than the Trellick and Goldfinger's first attempt at the design. According to an architect working in Goldfinger's office the inspiration for the buildings was “Stalin's architecture as it should have been”.

A troubled building

Goldfinger saw the buildings as the future of modern housing, but when The Trellick Tower was finished high rise blocks were going out of fashion. By the late 70s the tower had a reputation for crime and anti-social behaviour.

Failed parachute jumps and sought after real estate in London

In the 1980s things started changing. In 1982 a door entry intercom system was installed. The same year a skydiver, Francis Donellan, sneaked to the top of the tower and jumped, but his parachute failed to open and he died.

But things were getting better for the residents. After years of lobbying to council started tackling the problems in the building. Under the right-to-buy scheme council tenants were able to buy their own flats for a slightly cheaper price than market value. At the same time property prices started rising.

The building contains 217 flats, which were all originally rented as council flats. In 2013 a flat on the top floor of the building can sell for almost £400 000. Most of the flats are still social housing.

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Our illustration

Here you've been able to see our design process of the Trellick Tower print. As with the other illustrations Gerry starts out with taking a photo. These pictures we're taken when Gerry and Charlotta were house-sitting in Notting Hill. The Trellick Tower was looming over their flat and Gerry realised he had to turn it into a print.

The final version of the Trellick Tower is available as a the t-shirt in white and green, as a sweatshirt and as a signed and numbered silk screen print.

How to get to the Trellick Tower

7 Golborne Rd, London W10 5NY

The building is easily visible next to the main railway line going west from Paddington Station. It can also be seen next to the West Way when driving west.

The closest tube station is Westbourne Park. From there head north along the Great Western Road, under the motorway turn left down Elkstone Road. At a mini-roundabout turn right onto Goldborne Road, the Trellick Tower will be on your right.