Google+ London Architecture Blog: Week 47 13 Feature #40 Tate Britain Refurbishment

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Week 47 13 Feature #40 Tate Britain Refurbishment

Tate Britain Refurbishment
Project Team: Caruso St. John architects with Alan Baxter & Associates (Conservation Architects), Tate Britain (client), Bovis Lend Lease (Contractor), Max Fordham (Services Engineers)
Date Completed: November 2013
Location: Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG

The newly opened refurbishment of the Tate Britain art gallery was designed by Caruso St. John Architects in collaboration with the conservation architects, Alan Baxters & Associates and incorporates a reworked entrance sequence from Millbank, refurbishment of the original interior spaces, and the addition of a new spiral staircase, restaurants, member's bar and public spaces.

Upon entering the gallery, the most noticeable addition is the the new central spiral staircase, positioned within the rotunda of the main building, fronting onto Millbank and overlooking the River Thames, south of Westminster and north of Vauxhall Bridge. The original building itself was designed by Sidney R. J. Smith (completed 1897) with a later extension and addition (main sculpture gallery) by John Russell Pope. The new staircase links the ground level with the lower level containing the restaurant, sculpture galleries and public facilities. The stairs are constructed from a combination of stone, stainless steel and glass. At ground floor level, this is enclosed by a stone wall punctuated with a semi circular geometric pattern and black detailing which continues into the surrounding floor pattern circulating around the stairs. The space is lit from above by a large glass dome and is overlooked at first floor level by a perimeter balcony, featuring a new members bar.

At the lower level, the staircase leads down into an open space enclosed by arcs leading to the galleries, a restaurant, cafe and terrace, and further public spaces. Stone square geometric patterns on the floor lead into the spaces and provide a contrast with the curved form of the stairs. Extra educational spaces for the gallery have been included throughout as well as a new archive room with the intention of improving and adding to the gallery's current links with external research and educational organisations.

Key to the project is the consideration of the entrance sequence and how the visitor moves around the various gallery spaces including the extensions, additions, individual rooms and public facilities. The new scheme simplifies the main entrance space and the introduction of the new staircase in particular provides a key focal point for the space and blends nicely with the classical language of the original building, most notably through the materials, geometry and form. 

For details of opening times, current exhibitions and events, please see the Tate Britain website.

Spiral staircase

The Rotunda
Ground level
The stairs and Rotunda
The Spiral Staircase

Wall and floor pattern
Detail of the Stairs
The Spiral Staircase
Lower Ground Level

Lower Ground Level

Inside the Lower Level Gallery

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