The Tate Modern Extension

tate modern extension

I was very excited to read about more ‘Tate Modern’ in the world, despite the fact I am not necessarily a huge contemporary art fan.  But the Tate is such a great experiential museum, with free admission, fantastic architecture in an amazing city, good eating and drinking venues, a great bookshop, and solid survey of modern art from the mid-century together with more experimental contemporary works.  And don’t let’s forget the moody and very appealing Rothko room, far and away my favorite place to be at the Tate Modern, especially on a rainy, cold London day.

rothko tate modern

In general I am a great fan of old buildings with new additions or extensions, however, here I feel a bit disappointed that this large, bulky, modern, twisty thing has been attached to such a cool industrial building with a great past.  For some reason I want to separate this new building; keep it at a distance from the power station in all its monolithic, raw glory.  It seems to be towering over the massive power station, dwarfing a building that is a, impressive monument to the Industrial Age.

tate modern museum extension

Thank goodness they have mostly preserved the Thames-side elevation, with this extension at the back.  This does help me to accept what Herzog and de Meuron have done because it does feel like its own, separate building from the river.

tate modern river side

It also has a strange, tangential relationship to the Met’s Temple of Dendur room with its pyramid-like shape from certain angles.  For some reason this feels odd, but perhaps I am the only one that sees this.

met temple of dendur central park

I like the idea of matching the brick on the extension to that of the power station, however, I don’t love utilitarian brown brick on this ultra-contemporary, twisted and cut building.  To me, this begins to feel more like a new take on a government housing block.  I think perhaps making it it’s own thing with a different materiality would have been more effective…

tate modern brick

tate modern brick side

However, I do love that this new building is called The Switch House, and I am sure the interior will be quite impressive (but also quite exhausting with 10 floors and 300 artists) when I get the chance to visit, something I am very much looking forward to, despite the somewhat ‘snarky’ tone of this post!


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