LOCATION: London, England, UK
OLD USE: Utility
NEW USE: Museum
Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the former Bankside Power Station served London for less than 40 years before being closed down. It was built in two stages between 1947 and 1963 and was closed in 1981. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott was also the architect of the Battersea Power Station. The southern third of the building was retained by the French power company EDF Energy as an electrical substation (in 2006, the company released half of this holding).
Tate, a public institution, realized in the 1990s that its growing collection was outgrowing its originally location on Millbank. To alleviate pressure, it was decided to provide a new museum dedicated to modern art. Consultations led to the decision to reuse an existing building which brought Tate to the old power station. Its immense size and superior location on the Thames opposite St Paul’s Cathedral and the City of London made it a sure bet. The building was converted by architects Herzog & de Meuron and contractors Carillion, after which it stood at 99m tall.
In just eight years Tate Modern has changed London and revitalized the South Bank of the Thames. Tate Modern has transformed a previously underdeveloped area of London and has helped give the city a new image as a leading center of contemporary culture. It has become a key landmark for London, while its program and architecture have won international acclaim. Since 2000, more than 30 million people have visited Tate Modern – it was designed for 1.8 million visitors annually, but has reached an average of 4.6 million visitors over recent years.