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Tate Extension Exposed

More images have been unveiled as part of the p.r push that the Tate Modern in the South Bank of London is making for a new extension.

The scheme has been designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the award winning architects who were responsible for the original makeover of Bankside Power Station into the gallery it is today. It will sit to the immediate south of the Tate Modern and should provide 23,400 square metres of new space for the gallery, just over the road from Bankside 123.

Herzog & de Meuron have envisaged a huge pyramidal stack of glass boxes rising to a central point. With their contents visible from the outside it will let the public watch the public watching art converting the rooms on the eight floors into display space in their own right.

There will also be a 400 seat auditorium included in the development plus the option of 7,000 square metres of space for another artistic organisation, 1350 trees planted in the area and a pedestrian route running through the building melding art and the streetscape into one.

This is bound to be a controversial project to some, not because of the design quality but because of the use of lottery funds for it. Many people believe the Tate already has plenty of space and that the Turbine Hall is rarely utilised, often exhibitions fill only a fraction of the huge space.

With this situation its arguable the Tate needs to spend tens of millions on this project. Supporters however take a different approach believing that this huge Turbine Hall space allows the Tate Modern to do massive displays no other gallery would be able to exhibit and should remain under-utilised so it can be drawn on when needed.

At 165 million it's not coming cheap and there are certainly plenty of other worthy causes, but with the Olympics opening in 2012 there is great political demand in London for a modern architectural icon that can rival the Guggenheim in Bilbao and stamp the South Bank indelibly in the world's eyes as London's leading cultural quarter making it likely to go-ahead.

Meanwhile, Southwark Council have also had a detailed application for the much delayed Architecture Foundation, designed by Zaha Hadid. With some faces highly reflective and others totally transparent the crystalline design will sit on Southwark Street as part of the Bankside 123 development by Land Securities and combine the headquarters of the foundation with public exhibition and meeting space.

Just a stone throw away from the Tate this should cement the reputation of the area way past the opening jingle of TVs the South Bank Show. The Architecture Foundation hope to open up their doors in 2008.

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Tate Modern Extension

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Bankside 1

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The Architecture Foundation
The Architecture Foundation
The Architecture Foundation
The Architecture Foundation