Balfron Tower

Studio Egret West

Client: Profession: ClientCompany: Joint venture partnership between Poplar HARCA and developer Telford Homes Profession: ArchitectCompany: Studio Egret WestProfession: ContractorCompany: Telford HomesProfession: Planning ConsultantCompany: DP9Profession: Services EngineerCompany: Scotch PartnersProfession: Structural EngineerCompany: Heyne Tillett SteelProfession: Heritage ConsultantCompany: Richard Coleman City DesignerProfession: Interior DesignAb Rogers Design and Studio Egret West

Erno Goldfinger’s iconic Balfron Tower, in East London, has been brought up to date and given a "Second Life" by developer Telford Homes, with London based practice, Studio Egret West's sensitive retrofit design. 

The 27-storey tower which was originally built between 1965 and 67 for the Greater London Council, had fallen into disrepair and out of favour. However, with the renewed interest in Brutalist architecture, the building became Grade II listed in 1996 and upgraded to Grade II* in 2015.

There are six different dwelling types in total. The contemporary flats are open plan – suited to a modern lifestyle, whilst, six flats have been maintained as ‘heritage flats’ in keeping with the original layouts. To encourage more neighbourly socialising in the ‘streets in the sky’, door thresholds are set back and clustered in sets of three. Frosted and reeded windows bring life to the corridor without loss of privacy. 

Communal rooms, in the former utility tower, realise Goldfinger’s unbuilt vision and offer extra space for residents to socialise outside of their private dwellings – these include a cinema, yoga space, dining and kitchen space, gym, library and a private roof terrace. 

The surrounding gardens and public square provide a variety of landscape characters to bring children, residents and the wider community together. 

The exposed concrete structure has been extensively repaired and cleaned.

Technical issues such as cold bridging, insulation, fire and acoustic performance have all been reviewed and addressed.