History

Balfron Tower is a landmark building designed by the modernist architect Ernő Goldfinger in 1967 and forms a bold, sculptural presence in London’s east end. One of London’s most prominent post-war residential buildings, the new Balfron Tower retains a strong commitment to the local community, continuing Ernő Goldfinger’s acclaimed legacy.

Ernö Goldfinger was approached by the London County Council to draw up the scheme, having become known for his exploration of ideal high-rise plans for London during the war. These in turn had been inspired by his studies in Paris and the work of Le Corbusier and Auguste Perret.

Balfron Tower is a landmark building designed by the modernist architect Ernő Goldfinger in 1967 and forms a bold, sculptural presence in London’s east end. One of London’s most prominent post-war residential buildings, the new Balfron Tower retains a strong commitment to the local community, continuing Ernő Goldfinger’s acclaimed legacy.

Ernö Goldfinger was approached by the London County Council to draw up the scheme, having become known for his exploration of ideal high-rise plans for London during the war. These in turn had been inspired by his studies in Paris and the work of Le Corbusier and Auguste Perret.

Balfron Tower, together with its West London sibling Trellick Tower, was an opportunity to put these ideas into practice. The design featured a scaled down version of the ‘streets in the sky’ found in other local authority schemes. Each apartment or maisonette was accessed via a set of corridors running from the lifts in the service tower. This approach maximised the amount of liveable space in the building, allowing for generously sized apartments. The extensive use of cast and poured concrete gave the building a distinctive aesthetic that stood out in the tough urban environment.

Goldfinger was careful to emphasise the importance of ‘community life.’ Together with his wife Ursula, the couple had a well-publicised stay in the Tower after construction, living high up in apartment 130 for eight weeks and conducting what we would now call ‘focus groups’. The Tower became a significant local landmark. Now, half a century after its construction, Balfron Tower has a new lease of life thanks to a full restoration and refurbishment to bring it up to exacting modern standards.

“Architecture is the art of organising space. It is through construction that it expresses itself.”