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Balfron Tower

2014 - 2023

Our approach has been one of ‘constructive conservation’ and of respect for the Brutalist aesthetics.
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Our approach has been one of ‘constructive conservation’ and of respect for the Brutalist aesthetics.


Ernö Goldfinger’s 27-storey Balfron Tower in East London had fallen into disrepair and out of favour. But times have changed. It is now Grade II* Listed, and there’s a renewed appreciation of Brutalist buildings like this one. Guided by Goldfinger’s original vision, we’ve worked with Telford Homes, with Historic England and with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to bring the tower into the twenty-first century. Our approach has been one of ‘constructive conservation’ and of respect for the Brutalist aesthetics.

London, UK
Telford Homes
Architect, 50/50 Interior Architecture Role with Ab Rogers Design, and Landscape Architect
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Views of iconic silhouette of 27-storey tower with link bridges to utility tower - ©Tim Crocker
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The new public square at the base of Balfron Tower incorporates the existing Community Centre and is open to all. The surrounding gardens provide a variety of landscape characters to bring children, residents and the wider community together - ©Tim Crocker
Communal cinema
Cinema - ©Studio Egret West
Communal library
Library - ©Tim Crocker
Communal music
Music Room - ©Tim Crocker
Communal terrace
Roof Terrace - ©Tim Crocker
Communal dinning room
Dinning Room - ©Tim Crocker
Communal rooms, in the former utility tower, realise Goldfinger’s unbuilt vision and offer extra space for residents to socialise in outside of their private dwellings – these include a cinema, yoga space, dining and kitchen space, gym, library and private roof terrace. Photography by Tim Crocker
Our approach, from the outset, was to ask ourselves ‘How would Erno Goldfinger approach the upgrade to the tower – both in terms of contemporary uses and current regulations?”
Christophe Egret - Founding Director
Studio Egret West


The challenge was to bring a building built in the 1960s up to date, without losing sight and detail of its heritage.

Through a sensitive retrofit design, Studio Egret West has brought the iconic tower up to date for fire prevention, acoustics, waterproofing and thermal insulation.

The exposed concrete structure has been extensively repaired and cleaned with internal treatments including a breathable waterproof cementitious coating.

The landscape has been revitalised, made safe, and is community focussed. It is open and accessible to all.

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Wayfinding & Signage - Lift Lobby (Level 12 - Yellow) - ©Tim Crocker
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Wayfinding & Signage - Lift Lobby (Level 24 - Dark Blue) - ©Tim Crocker
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Wayfinding & Signage - Lift Lobby (Level 15 - Dark Green) - ©Tim Crocker
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Wayfinding & Signage - Access Gallery (Level 12 - Yellow) - ©Tim Crocker
Lift Lobbies and Access Galleries are colour coded per level. The higher up you go, the darker the colour. To encourage more neighbourly socialising in the ‘streets in the sky’, door thresholds are set back and clustered in sets of three.
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BEFORE: Facade prior to refurbishment
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AFTER - cleaned and repaired concrete, The original white timber LCC standard windows have been replaced with bronze coloured, narrow profiled frames which let the concrete stand out and maximise views. They have a high acoustic specification, thermal reflection to avoid overheating and integrated acoustic attenuation panels, to provide night-time cooling for each bedroom.
Before playground
BEFORE: Play Yard prior to refurbishment
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AFTER: The playground, which had been unsafe, anti-social and closed in, is now transformed into a modern play space, with new slides, climbing walls and a rubberised floor finish to soften its use and appearance - ©Tim Crocker
Before public square
BEFORE: The landscaping had become tired and outdated.
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AFTER: New planting and walkways accessible to all - ©Tim Crocker


Our work on Balfron Tower has been an exercise in making the most of the embodied energy of the existing materials and respecting Goldfinger’s legacy. We’ve worked with, not against, what’s already here. This significantly reduces the building’s carbon footprint and will ensure it performs well in the long term. We’ve given residents a more sustainable way of living – in greener, healthier surroundings.

The building is now BREEAM ‘Excellent’ and Part L compliant.

But upgrading the tower and rethinking the way it connects with its surroundings isn’t just about embodied energy and running costs. The knock-on effects are social, economic and environmental. By prioritising community spaces and encouraging chance meetings and organised events, we’ve given people reasons to come together and reasons to get to know one another.

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Heritage Flat - Living Room - ©Tim Crocker
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Heritage Flat - Frosted and Reeded Windows - ©Tim Crocker
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Heritage Flat - Kitchen Detail - ©Tim Crocker
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Heritage Flat - Kitchen Detail - ©Tim Crocker
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Contemporary Flat - View out to Balcony - ©Tim Crocker
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Contemporary Flat - Bedroom - ©Tim Crocker
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Contemporary Flat - Open Plan Living Space and Kitchen - ©Tim Crocker
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.


NLA Awards
Restoration & Renovation
Architecture Masterprize
Residential Developments (Apartments)
WIN Awards
Silver medallist
Completed Buildings - Retrofit
WAF Awards