London: Tate Modern Announces Opening of $400 Million Expansion

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The Tate had a record-breaking year with over 5.7 million visitors to the Tate Modern alone. At a recent news conference the museum proclaimed 2014-15 as their ‘best year ever,’ and took the opportunity to unveil the much anticipated opening date of the mega expansion to the Tate Modern.

Swiss architects Herzog & De Meuron have been on the case since 2000, when they built the existing expansion on the site of a former power station. In 2012 they had the task of transforming massive oil tanks found on site into what became a beautifully contemporary performance art space, and now are faced with their largest Tate task yet. In 2016, the Herzog & De Meuron team will complete their 10-story expansion above the previously transformed oil tanks, and grow the museum’s size by a staggering 60 percent.

At the news conference lead by John Browne, the chairman of the Tate’s board of trustees, he commented on the upwards expansion saying, “In London, property is so expensive that you are better off building an extension to your house. So that is exactly what we did.” To date the new building has cost around $400 million, with $77 million of that funded by the British government.

The building is already structurally complete, but currently remains as empty space. Looking at the design of this extension it will certainly create a whole new tourist attraction in London. A balcony wraps around the entire 10th floor to create a 360-degree panoramic view of London. This view will be accessible to the public, selfie time.
Aside from the balcony, the building will have three floors of new galleries. Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate said, that it “will present a more diverse and international perspective on modern art than can be found in many other museums.”

When the new space opens in June, Serota announced that the first visitors to see it would be 5,000 young students from across Britain. “It is vitally important that every child in the U.K. should be able to see the art of the past and the art of our own time, wherever they live,” he said.

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