Tate Modern Extension

Tate Modern announced today, September 22nd, the opening date for the new extension designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron – June 17, 2016. Director Sir Nicholas Serota also confirmed that the initial budget of £215 million, announced in 2012, rose 21%, to £260 million, due to London’s “sharp rise in building cost inflation”. Another reason is the decision to refurbish the existing gallery as well, also designed by Herzog & de Meuron. According to Serota, the target budget is still £30 million short, but he is confident a fund raising campaign will help provide the money.

Tate Modern Extension, view from the South - Courtesy of Hayes Davidson and Herzog & de Meuron

Tate Modern Extension, view from the South – Courtesy of Hayes Davidson and Herzog & de Meuron

The site of the Bankside power station will be divided in three sections – the existing boiler house, the Turbine Hall and the new Switch House. The extended gallery is thought to be one of the most important contemporary cultural buildings in the UK, since the British Library, completed in 1998. With its 10 stories and 20,700 sqm, or 60% extra space, the expansion is considered a completely new gallery.

Cuts and Bricks, architectural concept - Courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron

Cuts and Bricks, architectural concept – Courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron

The extension was initially hoped to be completed for the Olympic games in 2012. When plans fell, Tate decided to temporarily open its underground former oil tanks for performance and interactive art. The extension will include the Tanks, as well as more art works.

“There will be old friends and new friends – Pablo Picasso, Joseph Beuys and Mark Rothko will be joined by artists introduced to the public by Tate Modern in recent years, including Saloua Raouda Choucair, Meschac Gaba, Daidō Moriyama and Cildo Meireles.” – Sir Nicholas Serota mentioned.

The complexity of the project was noted by Lord Browne, chairman of the Tate trustees. He stated: “It would have been easier for us to build an office building that was square and nobody would have noticed and it probably would have been torn down in 20 or 30 years when someone had a better idea. This is very different – It really is a building that will last a very long time indeed.”

Tate Modern Extension, view from the South at dusk - Courtesy of Hayes Davidson and Herzog & de Meuron

Tate Modern Extension, view from the South at dusk – Courtesy of Hayes Davidson and Herzog & de Meuron

A preview of the new gallery will be available for about 5,000 schoolchildren, before the official opening to the general public, next year. The director explained the decision: “Opening a building like this is not just about the here and now, it is primarily about the future. Tate should be making differences to people’s lives by offering the experience of art to all. […] It is vitally important that every child in the UK should see the art of the past and the art of our own time, wherever they are”.

By: Ana Cosma

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