We are proud to welcome superstar developers Londonewcastle to this October’s Midcentury East. Want to learn more about the restoration works at Ernö Goldfinger’s Balfron Tower, due to complete early next year while shopping for the best in midcentury design for your home? The team will be hosting a Balfron stand in order to share more information with modern architecture aficionados.
Balfron Tower, Rowlett Street, Poplar, London ©RIBA
Londonewcastle joins more than fifty five vintage dealers at Ernö Goldfinger’s Grade II listed Haggerston School, which contains some of Goldfinger’s most dramatic detailing including the famous monocoque ceilings he learned from Le Corbusier’s teacher Auguste Perret. Commissioned in 1962 and built between 1964 and 1967, ‘Haggerston’ admitted its first students in January 1966.
Interiors at the new Balfron
Meanwhile, four miles away over in Poplar, Goldfinger’s Balfron Tower has stood a parallel test of time. Completed in 1967 – Balfron contains some of the Hungarian architect’s most imaginative planning. As well as pioneering the tower block in Britain, Balfron introduced a striking new form to the East London skyline. A precursor to Goldfinger’s better-known West London block, Trellick Tower, Balfron Tower was amongst the tallest buildings in Europe at the time and was seen as Britain’s boldest embodiment of the Brutalist movement.
Black and white photograph of a flat in the original Balfron Tower, part of the Goldfinger Family Archive – currently on loan to the NT.
Custodians of Balfron have faced the challenge of how to retain and embrace the iconic nature of the building, which is Grade II* listed, whilst improving the building’s thermal performance, reducing its carbon footprint, and bringing its living spaces up to 21st century standards. No easy feat.
Interiors at the new Balfron
First announced in 2015, developer Londonewcastle (with partners Poplar HARCA, Telford Homes and with the support of Historic England) appointed architects Studio Egret West and Ab Rogers Design to the project. Tasked with giving the landmark a new lease of life, while remaining sympathetic to its original architecture and heritage, Londonewcastle aims to stay true to Goldfinger’s vision of a pioneering new way of living with the team at Studio Egret West bringing with them wide experience in the restoration of historic post-war buildings, most notably the Grade II* listed Park Hill Estate in Sheffield, and Ab Rogers Design offering a rigorous approach to compact living, as well as a fresh take of Goldfinger’s intent, to embrace contemporary lifestyles.
Snapshot of building works on a visit by Modern Shows®
One of the major undertakings has been the restoration and repair of the concrete façade, future-proofing it for incoming generations. Inside, as per Goldfinger’s vision, key communal spaces have been reintroduced, including a music room, library, and hobby room with more modern additions including a gym, yoga/dance studio, communal dining room and private cinema in the former tank room. The cherry on the cake for mid-century fans however, will be the six heritage apartments – one of each of the original flat typologies designed by Goldfinger – which are being reinstated as close as possible to Goldfinger’s original design, including the apartment where Ernö and Ursula famously spent two months holding lavish champagne parties for the building’s original tenants, eager to glean insight into, and promote, the new, visionary, high-rise lifestyle.
The regeneration of Balfron Tower represents a significant chapter in Brutalism’s legacy in London and its future.
Join us on 13th Oct to find out more. And look out for our next blog which will introduce some of the fabulous new dealers we have had join our ranks.
For time-tiered advance tickets including the introduction of a new 3pm for Free for people who want a last minute taster of the show before they head off to haggle for flowers in Columbia Road Flower Market click HERE
Buy Tickets HERE