Designed by Erno Goldfinger in 1963 and grade 2 listed since 1996, the building is now in a sorry state and seems not to have been cared for in many years. The residents are being moved out, ahead of extensive refurbishment and sell-off to private buyers.
In the meantime, Bow Arts have made apartments available to artists to use as living and working space. On the Open House weekend, we were able to visit these flats, look at (and hear in many instances) the art as well as chat with the artis…
On my visit, the plan that emerged was a lift to the top (the 24th floor), visit a few artists, then make my way down the stairs to see what was occurring on the other levels.
This contains a pair of lifts, drying rooms now redundant and empty, and a boiler room at the top to provide heating to the whole building. This feature is, according to one person I spoke to, erratically effective, with some rooms overheated and others left cold.
The weather on the day was unremittingly grey which severely limited the views from up top, and provided a drearily appropriate backdrop to the concrete.
Balfron Tower is arranged such that residents get a sunset view over Central London to the west (subject to there being an actual sunset on the day of course). These days, The Shard provides striking reflections earlier in the day as well.
Towers of greater power
When the flats have been renovated and sold on, I expect many high-fliers from Canary Wharf will move in.