Saturday, March 14, 2015

The real Goldfinger - 2 Willow Road and a temper-tantrum brutalist architect

It's odd the things that can catch one's  eye  and how they later become connected by the gaining of greater knowledge.
Goldfinger's Trellick Tower Kensington- now it's trendy

Before Christmas I was taking photographs of Portobello Market and couldn't resist snapping the tower block that stood out proudly in the mid-distance against the bright blue December sky.

On this  Friday after visiting Fenton House we decided to take in the other National Trust property in Hampstead the home of Ernó Goldfinger designed by him and built before World War II and so it was that I found that the Trelick Tower was an example of Goldfinger's work - the man who is inexorably linked to other Bond villains as a result of his daring experiment of a Hampstead home getting up Ian Fleming's nose.

Goldfinger was a 'brutalist architect' (sounds rather unpleasant doesn't it ?) born a Hungarian and  educated in France he came to England before the second World War marrying Ursula Blackwell of the Crosse and Blackwell food business who donated the home to The National Trust on her death (in 1991). 

The house in Hampstead caused quite a stir, it seems hard to believe now but the idea and look of the place were both revolutionary and Hampstead was not convinced that it was quite ready for it.
2 Willow Road is not your  typical National Trust house

The tour of the rather 'bijou' accommodation started out in what would have been the garage with a  Film that proclaimed he 'didn't 'suffer fools gladly' not too many of us that do but this seems to be short hand for 'sometimes arrogant with a temper'.

Really useful to get this background on the building, in fact the house was built semi- speculatively with numbers 1 and 3 (either side of Goldinger's family home) being used to sell for financing the project. At various times some splendid parties by all accounts and a Henry Moore sculpture found a home in the garden for a while.

Goldfinger thought of suing Ian Fleming who used his name for one of his memorable villains but case was settled out of court thus removing the danger at the least that he became known as  GoldPr**k.


1-3 Willow Road - seems hard to believe that it caused such controversy 

And here's a rather nice (Design Museum) film about the house...

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