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AD Classics: Tate Modern / Herzog & de Meuron

The Tate Modern is a separate extension of the outgrown Tate gallery that is located in Millbank, London. In 1994, the Tate Trustees chose the redundant Bankside Power Station in the city as the site of their new gallery. The building was a post-war reconstruction of the original power station that was destroyed during the Second World War. It was built in two gradual phases in 1947 and 1963 by the architect Sir Giles Gilbert, and abandoned in 1973 due to protests against the pollution and other negative environmental impacts, but was revitalized in 1995 by the Swiss rm Herzog & de Meuron as the Tate Modern that we know today. The gallerys construction commenced with the purchase of the site, which was followed by the removal of heavy machineries that marked the buildings old glory days. The emptied space was subsequently lled with a new framework of steel that eventually makes up the seven oors in the gallery. This renovation was done cautiously in order to conserve the core structures of the previous building. For instance, the original brick faade and central chimney, which gave the former factory the title Cathedral of Power, were retained and strengthened by the freshly constructed steelwork. Moreover, the enormous turbine hall was transformed into a majestic foyer. Its height of 35 meters, and depth of 152 meters provided a spectacular display to visitors upon their entry to the gallery. On the other hand, the boiler house provided a spacious display area, thus becoming an integral part of the gallery.1

Tate Moderns Foyer Tate Moderns Faade Source: TateModernFlickr.jpg Source: c o m m o n s / 0 / 0 7 / Tate_modern_london_2001_03.jpg

The preservation of the former power station as the Tate Modern revived a dead power station that was forced to be rebuilt, and eventually be put on closure, due to the fuel crises in 1947 and 1973. However, the gallery did not only bring a positive purpose to an abandoned building, but also to an entire community, as stated by a governments policy that the reuse an old building ignites a wave of regeneration in an urban area.2 Evidently, the birth of Tate Modern in 2000 brought an economic benet to the bankside region of approximately 100 million, and 3,000 new employment


"GLIAS." Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Aug. 2013. "Constructing Tate Modern." Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Aug. 2013.

opportunities for the locals. This was an incredibly positive transformation for a borough that was once notorious for being the citys poor and dirty industrialized region.3 Undoubtedly, Tate Modern is an architectural chef doeuvre of its time. Its presence gradually bridged the once infamous bankside region to Londons heart right across the Thames river, literally, with the construction of the Millennium bridge, and other emerging landmarks, like the Shakespeares Globe. The gallery decidedly generated a massive urban regeneration, which is ironically reminiscent of the old power stations generation of electricity, power, and wealth for the city in the past.

"History of Tate." Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Aug. 2013.