Herzog & de Meuron signed the architecture of the Tate Modern’s anticipated extension. Tate Modern was a powerhouse when architects the architects took the site over in 1995, to turn it into a fantastic museum which soon became one of London’s trademarks and welcomed millions of visitors. So much so that it quickly became clear that an extension was needed to host the vast contemporary art collection and explore the presentation of contemporary performance.
The same duo, and this is a first, was called again to create this new building. Connected to the Turbine Hall, The Switch House is ten stories high, and features amazing panoramic views over the London skyline, including St Paul’s Cathedral and the Shard, but also to the original building and its tall chimney.
“We have kept these reservoirs, we all emptied and found extraordinary galleries. We could not have invented it. The shape of the tower is the result of these underground geometries.” Jacques Herzog said when he explained that the project had to take into account the existence of the “tanks” which formerly contained the oil used to power the turbines.
One floor is dedicated to the relationship between “architecture and object” hosting one of Roni Horn’s light cube; another explores the relationship between technology and art, a third displays a city Kader Attia constructed with couscous.
Frances Morris highly spoke of the dedication to female artists including an entire room devoted to Louise Bourgeois.
The only surprise is the amount of art displayed in this new building. When talking to Soo-Kyung Lee, Senior Research Curator at Tate Research Centre: Asia, she explained that the permanent collection had also been rehung so that visitors would focus on the architecture of The Switch House, in a first phase… To be continued.