As one approaches the Tate Modern from the river, the new Switch House can be seen rising behind the power station without competing with the iconic chimney. Integrating the new building into the existing urban fabric has been fundamental to the project, as well as integrating it into the skyline of the city and ensuring that visitors both inside and outside could orient themselves.
“We wanted the combined elements of Tate Modern, old and new, to be expressed as a whole, we wanted to have them come together and function as a single organism. Using the same base palette of bricks and brickwork in a radical new way, we created a perforated brick screen through which light filters in during the day and through which the building will glow at night. ” – Herzog & de Meuron
The chain mail brick façade is a completely new invention that allows the museum to bridge the gap between the contextual and the iconic.
As well as doubling the gallery space, The Tate Modern Project will created a diverse collection of public spaces dedicated to relaxation and reflection, making and doing, group learning and private study. These spaces are spread over the building and linked by a generous public circulation system rising through the building. The vertical orientation of these spaces is clear in the same way that a horizontal orientation is evident in the first phase of the Tate Modern.
All images © Alexandros Skondras