Re-Tooling Balfron







International Competition
Collaborators: Victoria Lee and Yorgos Berdos



Re-tooling Balfron is a speculative energy retrofit to the iconic 1967 London social housing project, Balfron Tower by Erno Goldfinger. The project begins with several questions: what would a passive, concrete high-rise social housing scheme look like? How might associated environmental adaptation facilitate community cohesion?  The design utilises the existing concrete structure of the 26-floor tower for strength and thermal mass while introducing a series of environmental apparatuses for modulating climate while opening up new social spaces. Sawtooth solar extensions on the south and west replace conventional balconies, intercepting summer sun, reducing overheating and increasing biomass.  Circular ducts are integrated into each dwelling unit, extending like straws/snorkels up the building exterior, enabling buoyancy-induced natural ventilation. Large rainwater funnels on the roof channel water into rooftop storage tanks, which supply gravity-fed irrigation along the new east circulation / vertical garden.The former boiler tower becomes a data hub, ensuring data autonomy for its residents, while also generating excess heat that feeds into both living and social spaces in the adjacent residential tower, where every fifth floor is given over to a social space including community gardening, outdoor pool, children’s playpark, and laundering facilities, all of which also act as winter heat sinks. 








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Mark