Herzog & de Meuron Unveil Tate 2: Electric Boogaloo

[left: original rendering. right: revised rendering]

Revised plans and renderings were recently unveiled of Herzog & de Meuron’s addition to London’s Tate Modern Museum, aka Tate 2. The original design (above left) was a little perplexing: a loosely stacked pile of metal and glass boxes, referred to by architecture critic Hugh Pearman as a “joyous asymmetrical gothic (composition).” The design was all the more striking in that it bore little relationship with the much-lauded original power station renovation. Even Pearman, in his joyous exuberance, questioned the additon’s cladding. “You have to wonder,” he wrote in 2006, “about the wisdom of a glass-clad building facing south – especially given that most of the gallery spaces inside will have to have solid walls. You wonder equally about the energy efficiency of all that broken-up surface area.” It seems that someone involved with the project agreed, as the new renderings reveal a structure that has seen a complete reskinning and has been smoothed out into less of a…heap.

[image via Tate Online]

At least in the above rendering, you might think the new twisted tower bears a striking resemblance to the dyamic duo’s De Young Museum in San Francisco. You’d be wrong. Despite the copper-like sheen shown in the rendering, the Tate 2 will be clad in elaborately arranged and perforated brick inspired by the original brickwork — once again H&dM prove themselves to be masters of facade. Unchanged from the original scheme is the size of the addition, which will add 5,000 square meters of new gallery space, increasing the already enormous Tate Modern by 65% and making some people wonder what all that new space will actually be used for.

[image via Tate Online]

Like the Tate 1 (I guess it might be called), the Tate 2 drew its form from existing construction. In this case, underground industrial spaces that once housed massive oil tanks have informed the footprint of the addition. They’ll also be used to accomodate a subterranean auditorium and performance space. Construction will be finished in time for the 2012 Olympics.

[image via Gabion]

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