Tate Modern is Britain’s national gallery of international modern art and forms part of the Tate group :- Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate St Ives.
Tate holds the national collection of modern and contemporary British art from 1900 to the present day
Its one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the world.
Tate Modern is housed in the former Bankside Power Station, which was originally designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who was the architect of Battersea Power Station.
The Power Station was built in two stages between 1947 and 1963 – eventually closed its doors in 1981.
The structure was roughly divided into three main areas– the huge main Turbine Hall in the centre, with the boiler house to the north and the Switch house to the south.
For many years after closure Bankside Power station was at risk of being demolished by developers. Many people campaigned for the building to be saved and put forward suggestions for possible new uses.
In April 1994 the Tate Gallery announced that Bankside would be the home for the new Tate Modern. In July of the same year, an international competition was launched to select an architect.
Herzog & de Meuron were announced as the winning architects in January 1995. The £134 million conversion to the Tate Modern started in June 1995 and was completed by January 2000
The most obvious external change was the two-story glass extension on one half of the roof. Much of the original internal structure remained, including of course the turbine hall.
The Queen official opened Tate Modern on 11 May 2000
It received 5.25 million visitors in its first year
Tate Modern had attracted more visitors than originally expected and plans to expand it had been in preparation since 2004. These plans focused on the south west of the building with the intention of providing 5,000m2 of new display space, almost doubling the amount of display area.
The southern third of the building was retained by the French power company EDF Energy as an electrical sub-station.
In 2006, the company released the western half of this holding and plans were made to replace the structure with a tower extension to the museum, initially planned to be completed in 2015.
The tower was to be built over the old oil storage tanks, which would be converted to a performance art space.
This project was initially costed at £215 million Of the money raised, £50 million came from the UK government; £7 million from the London Development Agency .
£6 million from philanthropist John Studzinski; and donations from, among others, the Sultanate of Oman and Elisabeth Murdoch .
In June 2013, international shipping and property magnate Eyal Ofer from Zodiac Maritime pledged £10m to the extension project, making it to 85% of the required funds.
Two of the Tanks are used to show live performance art pert and installations while the third provides utility space. Tate describes them as “the world’s first museum galleries permanently dedicated to live art”.
The exterior of the Switch House is a ten-story tower built above the oil tanks.
The original western half of the Switch House was demolished to make room for the tower and then rebuilt around it with large gallery spaces and access routes between the main building -the new galleries on level 4 have natural top lighting. A bridge built across the turbine hall on level 4 to provides an upper access route.
The new building opened to the public on 17 June 2016
The design, again by Herzog & de Meuron, has been controversial. It was originally designed with a glass stepped pyramid, but this was amended to incorporate a sloping façade in brick latticework (to match the original power-station building)
In May 2017 the Switch House was formally renamed the Blavatnik Building, after Anglo-Ukrainian billionaire Sir Leonard Blavatnik, who contributed a “substantial” amount of the £260m cost of the extension.