The museum is located inside the Bankside Power Station, built in 1963-1947 by architect Giles Gilbert Scott. It was only after the station was shut down in 1981 that the building was redesigned and turned into a museum by the architects Herzog and De Meuron. The appreciation of architecture is an integral part of the museum's visit. The museum opened in 2000. Among the exhibits, you can find works by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol.
On the first floor, you will pass through the impressive Turbine Hall. On the second floor is a café surrounded by transparent windows through which you can take in the beautiful view of the Thames. Though we are accustomed to museums displaying their exhibits by historical periods, in this museum you can walk around on the third, fourth and fifth floors, which are arranged according to themes. On the third floor, you will find mostly abstract art and expressionism, while the fifth floor features conceptual and minimalist works of art.
Turbine Hall is the nexus of visitors, a place to rest and the heart of the entire structure. It is in this point that the traffic to and from the museum leaves and enters. It certainly provides a special experience.
Due to its enormous size (it makes up almost half of the entire building), the space allows for a display of large and impressive works. Up to 2012, “The Unilever Series” was exhibited in the hall, which was exposed in 2000. Note the spider at the entrance to the museum and the silver slides you can take to the lower floor.
Items from 1900 until today are exhibited in the museum, and the entrance to the permanent exhibitions is free. If you decide to add a view to the temporary exhibitions there is a special fee for entry. A tour of the entire museum takes over an hour and a half to two hours for the average tourist, but art lovers can find themselves drifting here for a whole day. The museum tries to encourage the arrival of children and therefore offers various activities and guided tours (free) on a daily basis.
Tourists arrive by public transport and not in a private vehicle, because the entire area is jammed and parking is free. Young people enjoy a nighttime visit to the museum (it is open until 22:00). It is highly recommended to combine the museum visit with the interesting sites nearby - the Globe of Shakespeare, the London Bridge and the Borough food Market.
The reason why archeology was expressed in the structure lies, of course, in the selection of the architects Herzog and De-Meuron, who discovered and exposed interesting underground spaces during their excavation. The architects used what they found inside the tanks: the sloping concrete columns and concrete openings that emphasized the special nature of the containers themselves. These spaces were the first to be designed specifically for the stronghold itself.
From the basement level you can ascend to the ground floor by a spiral staircase.
According to the plan, the new wing was supposed to be inaugurated in 2012, but the design plans encountered quite a few objections, causing the architects to adjust their plans. In addition, those years suffered from an economic crisis, which did not help promote the project, only delaying it.
The new wing consists of 10 floors, but there were several challenges and limitations that eventually led to the pyramid shape that characterizes the new wing of the building. The factors taken into account were the angles of the streets that enclosed the building, the height restrictions imposed on it to avoid harming the sunlight of nearby buildings, an attempt not to damage the view of central London, and especially not harm the view of the dome of St Paul's Cathedral.
The wing is built by concrete from the factory, but was assembled here, at the construction site. The architect, Jill Gilbert Scott, planned the taut front on the concrete. The idea was to create a kind of detachment between the entrance and the concrete structure itself - and therefore the architects omitted the bricks from the front, so that light and refreshing air would enter the building. The missing bricks create the illusion of lace and add value to the wide surfaces within the structure. The architects say they wanted to provide a different perspective on the art within the museum. This was also the reason they chose traditional construction material, yet looked for a different way to use it.
On the tour of the Tate Modern Gallery, one can notice that the simplicity of the building and the spaces allows these works of art to receive the respect they deserve. The cause for his is the architecture in the entrance which draws attention, while the interior is relatively clean and does not attract much attention.
Have you seen the movie “Rear Window”? The museum's roof will provide you with a particularly intriguing experience. Pay attention to the Neo Bankside luxury tower, designed by Richard Rogers and located next to the museum. The proximity to the residential tower and the great visibility on the exposed side of the tower provide a direct glimpse into the apartments of the tenants, some of which are so expensive that they cost 20 million euros.
So even though not all visitors might admit it, the thrilling spying on the luxurious apartments across the street turned into a the talk of the day on the roof of the museum. Dozens of visitors gather every day on the roof, point to the various apartments, wait to see the tenants and identify luxury pieces of furniture. It is very possible that this is one of the most interesting and popular objects in the museum, which sometimes surpasses the art inside the museum.
The spaces are almost overcrowded, especially as the floors are higher.
In order to understand the difference, let us mention the original wing of the museum (the Turbine Hall), where the high industrial spaces provided added value in the form of a relationship between the size of the Turbine Hall and the exhibition spaces that are hidden and exposed in turn.
This, by the way, is not accidental, of course. In 2000, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron undertook the expansion of the museum. The Swiss architects were responsible for planning the gallery and were entrusted with the project. They emphasized that the direction of the art world is very influenced by the urban environment. This was the reason they made the "brave" decision to establish the new wing within an office tower. If you walk around the gallery, you will notice the difference between the original wing and the new and corporate wing.