The Balfron Tower Conservation Area was designated in October 1998 around the two residential blocks designed by Ernö Goldfinger for the London County Council in the 1960s. The Conservation Area boundary protects the listed Balfron Tower and Carradale House, and other buildings in the ‘Brownfield Estate’, including Glenkerry House, a community centre, shops and associated low-rise housing development.
The 27-storey Balfron Tower is Goldfinger’s first public housing project, and a precursor to his better known Trellick Tower in North Kensington. The neighbouring Carradale House and Glenkerry House sit within the landscaped areas developed at the same time. The Brownfield Estate, also known as the East India Estate, is now recognised as a fine example of planned 1960s social housing. Considered to be exemplary examples of the post-war housing schemes, Balfron Tower and Carradale House were listed in 1998 for their cultural & architectural merit.
This was my first visit, to a key building in the short history of modernist post war housing, currently something of a sleeping giant, awaiting Prince Charming’s kiss.
What will it awake to?
Tower Hamlets are mid consultation, as evidenced in this here document.
On an overcast and ever darkening afternoon, the rain cutting in on a chill wind, set against a slate grey sky, its surfaces and volumes were ever so slightly forlorn.
There is much to be done by way of regeneration, with the attendant issues of heritage, funding, gentrification and inevitably who lives where and why?
Everything you may care to almost know is here.
I walked around the area and took these pictures.