© 2020 Zoopla Limited. Living spaces in Balfron Tower: left, as originally conceived, and right in the remodelled version. Photograph: Ben Pipe Photography/Getty Images. “The reason for the regeneration is because local people recognise that a significant intervention is necessary to protect the long-term future of the area – bringing new homes, jobs and energy to a much-loved community hub.”. ***Based on a search within the London postcode areas (E, EC, N, NW, SE, SW, W, WC) on other UK online property portals. 50% Balfron Tower- Initial Statement December 22, 2014 About This Site Balfron Social Club was founded in December 2014 to examine the ‘regeneration’ & social cleansing of Ernö Goldfinger’s brutalist Balfron Tower in Poplar, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. “We’ve got a very good antisocial behaviour team and [resident-funded] police team, so the people who were throwing things out of their windows, we were able to get rid of them,” he says. Balfron 2.0: how Goldfinger's utopian tower became luxury flats Erno Goldfinger; critics of Balfron Tower believed that his feverish devotion to brutalism had led him to create a monster. For those who have to leave their homes in Balfron, supposedly to make the maths work for the improvement of the rest of the neighbourhood, the thinking is that high-rise living has never been for everyone. Paul doesn’t think Ivy’s will survive. Balfron Tower is a protected building so it escapes the fate of so many council estates across London which now face demolition, to be replaced by yet more luxury developments with limited affordable housing. “It’s owner-occupier. The development will provide 48.5% affordable housing (43.9% once demolition is taken into account). Lifts serve every third floor; thus, to reach a flat on the 11th, 12th or 13th floors, residents or visitors would take a lift to the 12th. “A lot of people love [Balfron]. Harca owns one third of Poplar’s land and 75% of its housing stock as well as 16 community facilities, 13 community gardens and some roads and green spaces. This overall figure is … Photograph: Riba Collections. Interior Photographer London ; Balfron Tower Brutalism Project by London Interior and Architectural Photographer specialist - Joas Souza . It’s brutalist architecture!’ … Well you’re welcome to it.”. He also said the cost of upkeep was prohibitive, that elderly people and families with kids suffer when they live so high up, and that crime was an issue, although steps had been taken to combat it. Balfron Tower was a typically utopian construction on a site originally occupied by low-rise terraces. Balfron 2.0: how Goldfinger’s utopian tower became luxury flats Editorial Team on October 2, 2019 / Comments closed To take Balfron Tower into its second half-century, Londonewcastle has assembled an award-winning team of architects and designers. All rights reserved. “[They said] people won’t use it, and it will delay the train times between Stratford and Canary Wharf. 2 bedroom homes £678,000 to £695,000 . Balfron Tower is a 26-storey, Grade II* listed building designed by brutalist architect Erno Goldfinger in 1967. The Home insurance comparison service is provided by Autonet Insurance Services Ltd, registered in England No. Goldfinger’s original working chimneys and ventilation shafts are gone; in their place will be a wild (but landscaped) meadow-style garden, with shrubs and hardy perennials – low-maintenance foliage that can withstand a battering from the weather. Harling, for his part, says he now feels that his presence as an artist was manipulated to encourage the social cleansing of the area, a strategy he describes as: “Get the artists in there, push the property prices up, this is our flagship. “This was a narrow alleyway, people getting mugged ... a caged barbed wire bridge, it was awful. “I’ve looked at some of the stuff from the new developers,” says Sadler, “and I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God, it’s that book.’”. © 2021 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. The selloff of Erno Goldfinger’s landmark building in Poplar is a central element of a new plan to transform London’s East End, Thu 19 Sep 2019 07.02 EDT The elegant yet imposing, burly yet intricate tower itself took the breath away, whether you liked it or not. Brutalism became de rigeueur; concrete was cool. The interiors, too, have been reshaped to 21st century standards. **uSwitch Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under firm reference number 312850. Loans Warehouse Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under firm reference 713110. contract All asects of the design for Balfron Tower are reiewed continuously and LEVEL 01 we resere the right to make alterations to the design without notice. Towers were seen as the ideal solution to the problem of how to house people well in dense urban centres. There was this massive issue about accessibility: because of the railways the rivers, the canals, the motorways, [the district] gets very easily divided.” He says Tower Hamlets had promised a station in the early 80s, but London Transport reneged on it. Ballard’s answer was that the proto-yuppie residents would be driven to vicious distraction by the bourgeois competitiveness fostered by their environment. Beyond that, she fears for the heart of the market. The original building will be demolished next year as part of the regeneration and will not be replaced for another three years. “I’d rather demolish it, to be truthful … It was good for that time, but as the decades passed it was a paradise for drug deals and an assembly point for gangs and stuff like that.”, The sale of Balfron provided Harca with money for more social housing and upgrades to public space in the area. Balfron Tower bedroom 2 (15281395799).jpg 848 × 1,280; 408 KB Balfron Tower bedroom 3 (15445450116).jpg 845 × 1,280; 416 KB Balfron Tower concrete.jpg 4,462 × 2,843; 5.95 MB Erno Goldfinger and his wife Ursula on the balcony of their flat in Balfron Tower. They now say it’s the best station on the whole network ... if you were here late at night you’d feel comfortable.” It now has 120,000 users a month. As of 11 Mar 2019. Harca was once a small housing association, set up by Tower Hamlets in 1996 with the explicit intention of reviving the area. But Balfron had long been lauded as a design success by the cultural establishment. Paul’s home on the nearby Teviot estate is being knocked down and rebuilt, following a resident vote in May that saw 86% of residents vote for expansion. Designed in 1963 by Hungarian architect Ernö Goldfinger, Balfron Tower was among the first high-rise solutions for residents of London’s post-war social housing program. I take them round: ‘Oh, isn’t this fantastic? Find 2 bedroom flats to buy in Balfron with Zoopla. An artist moved next door to Sadler’s sons, who were living in the family flat. View development. Bedroom decorated as in the late '60s period. Glenartney Road, Callander, FK17 8EB. All former residents of the 146-property building – renters and owners alike – have been moved on (bar seven leaseholders who dug in their heels). You ruin the East End. “Never are we further from it than now.”, He argues that the right-to-buy policy, which allowed council tenants to buy their property, “had a huge amount to answer for as well, because any social housing that is good gets bought out.”, The only solution, he says, is for the UK government to “build a significant social housing programme – building in significant ways through real long-term solutions, not wrapping up old buildings in really bad cladding that then catches on fire.”, The proximity of Canary Wharf to Balfron Tower is a selling point for the new development. Balfron was built to a ‘scissor plan’ – a way of interlocking flats to maximise space – and the design was generous: every apartment had dual aspect windows, welcoming sunrise to their bedrooms and sunset to their living rooms. (Unlike Goldfinger, the fictional Royal beat up his tenants if they got too curious.) Autonet Insurance Services Ltd has its registered office at Nile Street, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent ST6 2BA United Kingdom. The interior has been furnished in 1960s styl COMING SOON. A dining area available to new residents for larger-scale entertaining, created in a space that was once the tower’s boiler room. (CC BY-SA - credit: Photo by George Rex.) Kiltrochan Drive, Balfron, Glasgow, Stirlingshire G63 A fully modernised and thoughtfully extended two bedroom semi-detached bungalow in one of the most sought after locations in the village with elevated views to the Campsies. Zoopla Limited is an appointed representative of Loans Warehouse Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 713110) to introduce clients to Loans Warehouse Limited and distributing non-real time financial promotions that relate to products of services available through Loans Warehouse Limited. From our vantage point on the roof, Stride gestures past Balfron to the totems of London’s eastern facelift: Canary Wharf, the O2, the vast new housing developments at Canning Town. “I think they lie to you.” Gavin, another former resident who was told he could stay, says his fortunes changed when housed in the tower in the 90s. “Stratford is completely transformed of course, while we are the second most deprived area.” In particular, he says, he wants a more genuine connection between Canary Wharf, with its bankers and high-end restaurants, and more working-class Poplar. The artist Wane Hemingway made over Goldfinger’s old flat, No 130, with retro stylings; Turner nominee Catherine Yass’s “Piano Falling” would have seen her drop a piano from the 26th floor as a “swan song” for Balfron, before it was called off after a petition from local residents. Calders Wharf Saunders Ness Road, London E14 3PS. “This is all social rent and the quality is fantastic. The Lansbury Estate and other buildings built during the Festival of Britain will be spared. Photograph: Keystone/Getty Images. It featured Antony Royal, a monstrous architect who, like Goldfinger, lived at the top of the tower he built. In response to the claims made in the film, a Harca spokeperson said: “We know that some residents wanted to return to Balfron – it had been their home for a long time. “We only had an upstairs toilet, and I’ve got a disabled child, so we got a downstairs toilet [put in]. Poplar, Stride says, has long been “stuck in the middle” between booming examples of London regeneration and he is glad it is finally receiving a piece of the action. I take a queasy ride on the workman’s lift to the Balfron roof, where there is a breathtaking 360-degree view of London. Just standardising every area to have a coffee shop, a wine bar, getting rid of all these markets that existed for years and years.”. “What we are saying is: bring the jobs and the changes that you’re benefiting from – we want it here as well!”. Ab Rogers, one of the architects, echoes that. The property is situated in a quiet cul-de-sac and has off road parking, a... Milngavie (9.0 miles) *Zoopla Limited is an appointed representative of uSwitch Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 312850) to provide this mortgage comparison service. It wants to bring the rag trade back to the district by building a “fashion hub”, Poplar Works – a collaborative venture with the Trampery, a social enterprise for creatives, and London College of Fashion – that will turn old garages into more than 40 low-cost studios and workshops for early-stage fashion businesses. Balfron (Scottish Gaelic: Both Fron) is a village in the Stirling council area of Scotland.It is situated near Endrick Water on the A875 road, 18 miles (29 km) west of Stirling and 16 miles (26 km) north of Glasgow.Although a rural settlement, it lies within commuting distance of Glasgow, and serves as a dormitory settlement. In 2011, however, she received a letter: her flat was to be vacated. 15. Poplar back then was a poster child for urban poverty after the shipping industry declined, and Lansbury, whose rise contains echoes of Jeremy Corbyn’s, argued for direct action. [We have had] new kitchens – they are trying to bring up a nice standard of living.”, Woollard, like Stride, doesn’t much like Balfron. Thirty years later Sadler, now a children’s diabetes specialist nurse, bought a flat three doors down at number 81. “I just feel like we all benefit from mixing up together, and I think what they are producing is something that will end up being exclusive.”. “Have you ever read JG Ballard?” asks Ali Sadler. Offers around £120,000 2 bedroom flat . For two weeks the National Trust is opening flat 130 in the Balfron Tower, Poplar, to the public. 2 & 3 bedroom homes £710,525 to £729,925 . Goldfinger once said of his tower that “it will help bring the countryside to London”, a statement that spoke to the way the architect felt his buildings could open the city up to their residents. The implication is that Goldfinger’s aspirant architecture is somehow a bit much for lower earners: the luxification of the tower suggests the windows let too much light in, its design is too desirably functional, its spaces are too full of promise and endeavour to be considered for universal consumption. Ian Fleming hated Goldfinger so much that he named a Bond villain after him. Dogs are eaten. In 1969, Terence Bendixson wrote of Balfron tower that it was ‘perversely beautiful’ but ‘conjures up thoughts of prisons and pill-boxes’. It’s not going to be taken to any kind of far-east show. “Don’t get me wrong,” says Steve Stride as we climb to the roof of a nearby high-rise building last month to have a look at Balfron: a tower of scaffolding and sheeting as concrete is sandblasted and lifts made faster. Parents bemoaned a lack of playing space and the impossibility of children mixing between floors. He has since been homeless but continues to campaign against “class cleansing” on his Twitter account, Balfron Social Club, which was denounced by the director of the V&A, Tristram Hunt, as “keyboard warriors and artwash agitators”. “[I]n fact we probably helped it along, by turning brutalism into a coffee-table fetish object.”, That process was crystallised in 2011: Harca invited artists to temporarily occupy the empty flats in a “guardianship” scheme in collaboration with Bow Arts Trust as the building was being emptied of its tenants. AutoNet Insurance Services Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) (Registration number: 308213). Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE Designed by Erno Goldfinger and opened in 1968, when local authorities still built council housing in earnest, Balfron arrived on the crest of a wave of high-rise developments. Indeed, many rightly criticise earlier practices of housing people in towers who may not have wanted to live so high. “I was homeless and I was really thankful for a place … now it’s going to the richest of society.”, Harca’s own regeneration consultation documents promised that “no resident will lose their home involuntarily”. List with Zoopla and build your business today, I'm a Zoopla agent, I want to login to ZooplaPro. “I don’t like what’s happening in this area any more. About Balfron Rare 2 bedroom top floor flat in Poplar, East London E14 available. When it opened in 1968, it was one of the tallest towers in Europe; Goldfinger and his wife moved into a flat on the 24th floor for two months, gleaning feedback from tenants by putting on lavish champagne parties. Harca organised the community, says Stride. The regeneration is fuelled by Harca’s quasi-Robin Hood business model, which seeks to generate as much value as possible from its assets. Although Balfron’s apartments were now selling on the open market, Sadler says the thing she’d originally loved about it remained: the sense of community. There’s no way you can say that is gentrified. “We’ve been working hard to sustain the market with events, publicity and investment,” insists a spokesperson. The former Labour and now independent peer Lord Cashman made a stand against Harca’s Balfron plans in November 2015: “There has been incredibly poor communication with, and an incredibly poor attitude towards, tenants and leaseholders from the current landlord Poplar Harca over the decant and refurbishment, with changing plans, the insidious decanting of tenants, years of delay and an eventual declaration that Balfron Tower would be 100% privatised,” he said. Tower Hamlets has always prided itself on being diverse and inclusive. Yet it isn’t only keyboard warriors who have criticised Harca’s approach. Details Shortlist Watch Video Available. Balfron Tower Carmen Street In a joint venture with Poplar HARCA and London Newcastle, Telford Homes is collaborating with Studio Egret West and Ab Rogers Design to comprehensively and sensitively restore, this Grade 2 listed residential landmark. This is jewel in the crown of the entire area, which is about to be developed all the way up to the River Lea” (where another 30,000 new housing units are being built). “I know a few people, a lot of the old people, wanted to go back,” one resident, Cindy, who lived there for 25 years, says in the film. Balfron can look bracing, and it's easy to mock the architect and his wife, the Crosse and Blackwell heiress, living for a few months in a tower block before going back home to … BALFRON TOWER. All rights reserved. One guardian, Rab Harling, entered Balfron in 2011 as an artist, and began a photography project to document the interior worlds of the flats. Among the gathered crowd were representatives from the architects, Ab Rogers and Egret West, who enthusiastically projected their vision of future residents filling the room with dinner guests. The ensemble has a martial air, with arrow-slit windows slanting up the service tower, topped by a bulging boiler house and chunky chimneys, resulting in a fortress-like silhouette. The book asked the question: what if, instead of the council tenants who lived in Balfron, such a tower was instead filled with a striving professional class and leisure activities that detached them from the world outside? Search through 6 properties for sale in Balfron, Glasgow. Stride is the CEO of the powerful but little understood organisation that was behind the decision to turn Balfron into a luxury development: the Poplar Housing and Regeneration Community Association, better know as Poplar Harca. There are 84 houses for sale in Balfron, so book your viewing today. Canary Wharf is coming for Poplar at last. The developer, Londonewcastle, commissioned the architects Egret West and Ab Rogers (son of Sir Richard) to modernise to a “21st-century standard”, and the new residents are expected to be a panoply of professionals who will enjoy a high-spec cinema club, a music room complete with drum kit, a workshop, a library, a gym and a cooking and dining space for bigger soirees. FINAL APARTMENT REMAINING. The noise and dust will put off the customers, she predicts. One bedroom flats start at £365,000. Published on Oct 2, 2014 View from the balcony of Flat 130, Balfron Tower, where architect Erno Goldfinger lived for two months to try out his own design. Photograph: Simon Balson/Alamy. She believes the neglected condition of the market under Harca is intentional. As part of the stock transfer Offer from Tower Hamlets Council, Poplar HARCA promised to renovate the building internally and externally. There’s millions of mice and rats underneath this ground. “I used to bring government ministers here,” he says. Three of the sites contain homes that will be demolished, incorporating 15 rented studio flats, 13 rented one-bedroom units and 2 private one-bed units. Those apparently less salubrious residents aside, Harca made it a priority to rehouse – or “decant”, in their parlance – all the former Balfron residents nearby. For many, however, the scheme turned Balfron into a shorthand for “artwashing”: the practice of developers inviting artists to live in an area, giving it a vibrancy that raises property prices. It was listed in 1998, and acted as a post-industrial reference point to music videos by grime acts and indie bands. Internal accommodation measures approximately 803 sq ft. It claims that 95% of former residents were rehoused within Tower Hamlets (81% in Harca properties), and that approximately 35% of families were moved into a bigger property; 6% were downsized and the rest remained in comparable properties. During that time, the cafe will be moved to a new spot behind some barriers while the building work proceeds. View development. “OK, so we couldn’t stop Balfron Tower from being privatised and turned into luxury flats,” wrote author Owen Hatherley, one of Harca’s most vocal critics. News (12). “Tower Hamlets has always prided itself on being a diverse and inclusive borough. For three years in the 1970s Sadler, then a trainee nurse, lived at No 84 in Balfron Tower, the landmark concrete skyscraper in east London. 01786 358116. It is a listed building, was designed by Erno Goldfinger and is the precursor to Trellick Tower. “That type of intervention, that’s what regeneration should be about.”. Residents have been told they will be able to return after being decanted. But it has grown in stature as the plan to reshape Poplar has mushroomed, and it now has a hold on Poplar that feels rare in a London borough. Chrisp Street market still has its characteristic pie and mash shops, but residents wonder if they survive the area’s regeneration. The scheme will also feature a new rooftop garden providing hydroponic growing towers, to allow residents to grow their own fresh produce – a fitting addition to the tower’s reincarnation that chimes with Goldfinger’s dream of ‘communities in the sky’. And its remit to regenerate Poplar now includes not just Balfron but the regeneration of the whole Brownfield estate, as well as Aberfeldy estate and Chrisp Street Market. London Live 13,833 views. There is increased acoustic insulation, sprinklers, and ducts for a filtered ventilation system. The villa sits amidst mature and established gardens with views to the side as far as Ben Lomond, The Trossachs and neighbouring countryside. “It’s a shame,” says Sadler. Then the rest is social rent. Like Trellick, the 27-storey Balfron houses its lifts and services in a separate tower alongside the main block, connected by a bridge on every third floor. New, lower-rise flats were built specifically for the former Balfron residents, and those residents who wanted to remain living in a brutalist block were moved into neighbouring Carradale, another Goldfinger-designed tower – their flats were bought by Harca using money from the government’s Decent Homes programme. “It was really important… that this was a building again, community-forming,” says Londonewcastle’s head of development, Baerbel Schuett. You could say Balfron died as soon as it was born. Might I suggest that social cleansing in this way is the antithesis of that? In 2013 Harling was evicted. Then you’ve got that tower in the corner. Semi-Detached Great rural location in a village with easy transport links to both glasgow and stirling , the property is bright and , set in a good-sized plot and has scope for extending. “What we have had, over the last 10 years, is a total refurbishment [of the housing],” he said. “I wanted to turn the building inside out,” he said. In the 1990s it developed a bad drug problem, and by 2002 it was providing a gritty, shopping trolley-strewn stage for the zombie horror 28 Days Later. And yet, not only did many people live happily in Balfron for decades, but now many others will pay top whack to live in it. Goldfinger, a modernist architect from Hungary, was a Marxist who began designing the tower in 1963 as part of the wider Brownfield estate of council houses. The floor is collapsing because they live underneath and all the tiles keep collapsing down because they are digging tunnels.”, The Chrisp Street Market as it currently is; newer elements such as a Haitian cafe have been incorporated already, but the regeneration project will mean wider changes. I was given an early look at the still-to-be-finished building, and was shown inside a large dining space that used to be the boiler room, located inside Balfron’s distinctive thin concrete tower, which is connected to the main residential block by “streets in the sky” walkways (Goldfinger’s solution for distancing the apartments from mechanical noise). Might I suggest that social cleansing in this way is the antithesis of that?”, Stride takes me to a well-used, open-faced DLR station. “You’re not gonna sell for £1.5m when you look down on this shithole, are you? “The first tower, although perversely beautiful, conjures up thoughts of prisons and pill-boxes,” wrote Terence Bendixson in the Guardian in 1969. “He’d come and knock on the door and want a chat. Glenkerry House is a housing block on the Brownfield Estate in Poplar, London, designed by the studio of the controversial Brutalist architect Ernő Goldfinger. Problem of how to house people well in dense urban centres who may not have wanted live... Interiors, too, have been reshaped to 21st century standards city folding in on itself, been... Into a coffee-table fetish object solution to the problem of how to house people well in urban... Photograph: Pat Tuson/Alamy, Harca deny that they have neglected the market art: Saturday. 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