The brand new extension to Tate Modern on Bankside will open to the public on 17 June 2016. Consisting of ten storeys, the new Switch building will add 60% more display space to the existing gallery. The opening will be accompanied by a complete rehang of the collection displays, 75% of which will have been acquired since 2000. Speaking at a press conference today, Francis Morris, the Director of Tate Modern, said that it will feature “more international [artists], more new media and importantly more women.”
The nation’s youngest will be among the first to see the new development. 3,000 school children from across Britain have been invited to a special preview on Thursday 16 June 2016. On Saturday 18th June, a 500-strong choir from across London will perform a specially commissioned choral work by Peter Liversidge, kicking off a celebratory three weeks of live art from artists such as Tania Bruguera, Tino Seghal and Amalia Pica.
One floor of the new Switch House building will be dedicated to an ambitious ‘open experiment’ called Tate Exchange. Over 50 organisations will be invited to participate in Tate Modern’s creative process, running events and projects on site.
The extension, designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron, has been planned ever since Tate Modern opened in 2000. The Tate website states that, “It was always envisaged that the derelict oil tanks and the switch station to the south of the site could eventually be integrated into the gallery.”
Architect Jacques Herzog describes its dramatic, twisting form as, “something between a very rational form and a very irrational form, a pyramidal shape. It’s to do with the geometries of the land parcel, but also angles that will lead people into the galleries.”
Originally planned to open in time for the 2012 Olympics, over the years the total cost of the development has risen from £215m to £260m. The project has received £50m investment from the Government, £7m from the Greater London Authority and £1m from Southwark Council. Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate, admits that they are still £30m short of the final figure, but that he is confident that the additional funds will be raised.
It will probably be the last expansion of Tate Modern, however. “I think it’s the right size. It’s about as much as you could take in on one day,” he says.