Reimagining Goldfinger builds on SPID’s award winning Trellick Tales project, which featured on the BBC, was pick of the week in Time Out and won a Clore Prize. The project explores the heritage of West London’s Cheltenham Estate, comprising blocks such as Trellick Tower and Edenham Way . This historic estate was designed fifty years ago by the renowned architect Erno Goldfinger and has come to symbolise Brutalist architecture.
It was one of the last tower block estates to be built before local authorities realised what social problems they caused. Built in 1972 at the commission of London County Council, the estate replaced the sub-standard late 19th century housing and embodies the best ideas at the time for high rise housing.
Cheltenham Estate received Grade II listed status in 2012 and is just round the corner from SPID’s base in the historic Kensal House estate. Kensington council is currently consulting with the local community on plans to redevelop the empty area between Trellick Tower and Elkstone Road.
Reimagining Goldfinger was a year long programme which started July 2016 and followed the estates’ journey from its completion in 1972 through to the present day. The heritage of the building was explored through detailed research, the creation of oral history testimonies and a film. Young participants were encouraged to work with older residents throughout each of the project’s three 12-week stages.
In one block young people created a film about the estate’s history which is shot on location, taking the form of a documentary. The young people were encouraged to form a company identity and have a sense of ownership of both the project and the heritage of their estate.
In another block young people learnt research techniques and drew upon visual and written resources in order to investigate the changing social, political and historical context that has influenced the building and its residents. Workshops from the Oral History Society taught them about the history of their estate and developed their research skills. Sessions with Haworth Tomkins Architects developed their model making skills and explained plans to redevelop neglected areas of the estate. The young people created an exhibition about the history of their estate including their own models of how it might look in future.
And in another block they explored older residents’ memories by interviewing them about their experiences of estate life. Workshops from the Twentieth Century Society taught them the interview skills and editing skills they needed to create oral history testimonies. The V and A also delivered guided tours of the estate and showed them how to give these tours themselves.
Reimagining Goldfinger was part of our Living History program, created by Nnenna Samson Abosi and Mariana Sastre.