Tate Extension: Uncompromisingly Modern Or A Bit Wank?

By M@ Last edited 143 months ago
Tate Extension: Uncompromisingly Modern Or A Bit Wank?

OK, so most of you will have already seen the plans for the extension to the Tate Modern. They’ve been all over the press since lunchtime. To quickly summarise via the lazy, but strangely satisfying medium of bulletpoints:

• Glass ziggurat-type extension to be built south of the Tate.

• 11 floors and 23 000 sq metres of new space.

• Open in time for the Olympics.

• Costs £215 million.

• Designed by architects Herzog and De Meuron, the architects behind the original conversion.

Inevitably, some will hate it, some will love it. Whatever, reactions and comparisons are legion. Here are just a few (the first four are from Londonist contributors):

• Holy crap! That thing looks...dangerous. In a thrillingly sexy way.

• Woah - looks like a transformer - freaky.

• Looks like a collapsed Channel 4 logo.

• You're all wrong - it looks like a load of Tetris blocks!

• Like a sack full of cats. (Rowan Moore, Evening Standard)

• Nice design, looks like a bunch of portacabins. (Medo, skyscrapercity.com)

• Like a game of Jenga with glass blocks. (Dan1987, skyscrapercity.com)

So, how would you describe it? And most importantly, what are we going to call it?

Last Updated 25 July 2006

Jon Deane

It's a Dark City building in mid-transformation.

Barry P.

Clearly it'll be called "The Pile."

I don't know if I love it or hate it. But I feel something. As far as modern art goes, it's a success.


Anyone know if this is going out the front (by the river) or out the back? It will look pants if out the front I reckon!


I shall be calling it the tet modern. as a tetrahedron/tetris reference. or 'woah, cool', depending on how cordial our relations are.






Some nice ideas. I like Tate-tris.

Si, just to clear this up, it'll be South of the Tate (i.e. 'round the back'). It'll be slightly taller than the existing GG Scott building, so will poke out above it when viewed from the Millennium Bridge. Stangely, it's going to be sited to the right of the tower stack (as viewed from the bridge), giving it an asymmetric appearance that not everyone is happy with.

Nik Shah

I love the extension - much better than the Louvre pyramid. As for names, surely it's got to be the "Tate Postmodern"?


Trouble is that an "artist's impression" of a new building - of whatever sort - is always misleading. Such "impressions" always convey a sense of lightness, elegance and (almost) insubstantiality (not to mention cleanliness) which is almost never achieved in the finished building. Why does it have to be higher than the existing building?

Alastair Rae

It's obviously inspired by a pile of sugar cubes.


Reminds me of Daniel Libeskind's design for an extension to the V+A (which, regrettably, was never built):