Today, Tate’s Trustees unveiled bold plans to transform Tate Modern into a new museum for 21st Century Britain. An iconic new building will be created on the south side of the existing gallery, to form one of the most exciting new cultural centres in Europe – a symbol of creative Britain. The building has been designed to show the full breadth of modern and contemporary art, with learning and visitor engagement at its heart.
The project will create a new landmark for London, helping to maintain its position as the leading cultural and creative capital of the world. Mayor Ken Livingstone today announced major investment of £7 million from the London Development Agency to kick-start the development and help fast-track the scheme so that it might be completed in time for the Olympic Games in 2012.
The success of Tate Modern has made it necessary to bring forward the transformation of the Bankside site in order to accommodate the 4 million-plus visitors a year that come to the present building. The project will act as a catalyst for the further regeneration of the South Bank, encouraging its impact to spread further southwards into Southwark.
It was always Tate’s intention to ‘complete’ Tate Modern by bringing the derelict areas of the building into use at some point in the future. Now, EDF Energy Networks, which owns and operates the electricity substation located in Tate Modern’s Switch House, needs to modernise the station’s equipment. This creates a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to move the plant into a smaller area of the building, freeing up space for Tate Modern to expand to the south.
At present there is no public access to Tate Modern from the south, which effectively cuts the gallery off from its surrounding community. A new south entrance will open up a north-south route or “street” right through the building, creating a new pedestrian walk from the City across the Millennium Bridge through the Turbine Hall to Southwark and the Elephant and Castle. This will be open for at least 12 hours a day.
The spectacular new building is designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the award-winning architects who converted Bankside Power Station into Tate Modern. The existing and new building will become one, with the Turbine Hall acting as its spine, creating approximately 23,000m2 of new space. The new building will increase Tate Modern’s overall size by 60%.
The development will provide more space for contemporary art and enable Tate to further explore new areas of contemporary visual culture involving photography, film, video and performance, enriching its current programme. There will be space for cutting-edge contemporary work and work from across the world including Africa, Asia and Latin America, widening the geographical spread of the collection. 7,000 m2 of exhibition and display space will be added to the existing 9,000 m2 (excluding Turbine Hall). The scheme will also enable more of Tate’s Collection to be brought out of storage and shown on a more permanent basis and provide new space for major loan exhibitions, complementing the exhibition spaces in the existing building.
Two new performance areas will be created in the oil tanks of the former power station. One will be a flexible auditorium to accommodate 400 people and the other will draw upon the qualities of the oil tanks to create an informal performance space, unique to Tate. These spaces will enable artists to explore the connections between the visual arts and other art forms.
The new development will provide a sequence of exceptional new education spaces designed to meet the developing expectations of Tate’s visitors. These will provide room for both formal and informal learning and will facilitate a wide-ranging programme. Tate Modern’s outstanding and pioneering education programme will at last have the space to meet its potential and serve new and broader audiences. 1,567m2 of learning space will be added to the existing 1,000 m2.
A new public roof terrace will give spectacular views across London. Cafés, restaurants, shops and offices, a new enlarged Members’ room and a Patrons’ lounge will be among the many new facilities. New public squares are being developed to unify and integrate the new public realm surrounding Tate Modern and distinguish the different types of spaces and their functions. Over 1,000 new trees will be planted and new seating provided. Two new, high-quality public squares will be created for London.
The new development of Tate Modern will be much more than just a building; it will be the anchor for a dynamic new quarter of London – a new creative campus stretching southwards. Bankside Urban Park, involving the improvement of the urban realm through the creation of pocket parks and other small-scale developments, is a major project being led by Better Bankside with the support of Tate and other landowners. The Urban Park will connect newly landscaped areas around the gallery to open spaces across Southwark.
Tate Modern’s new development lies at the heart of London’s Cultural Quarter, running from the London Eye to the Design Museum, constituting a newly formed group of 20 cultural organisations who are committed to working together, in partnership with local government, the business sector and the creative industries.
The designs for the new development will be submitted for planning approval in Autumn 2006, with a decision expected in Spring 2007. It is hoped that the new building might be finished in time for Olympic Games in 2012. The total costs of the project are comparable to the costs of the original Tate Modern: £165 million at today’s prices, £215 million at outturn in 2012.