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View from bridge on Level 4: Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
View from bridge on Level 4: Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
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Switch House, The New Addition To The Tate Modern

Picture of Ellie Griffiths
Updated: 23 December 2016
Twenty years ago, the Bankside Power Station was an iconic landmark lining the River Thames and the skyline opposite St Pauls Cathedral. Today, the power station is home to the Tate Modern, seeing over five million visitors every year. Both the known Boiler House and the new Switch House within the Tate Modern has helped shaped the Tate’s unique place in the world, becoming the home of contemporary art. Culture Trip takes an exclusive look into the new Tate Modern.

From the outside, this new piece of modern architecture – reaching 64.5 metres in height – stands out from the iconic power station, bringing about a sense of curiosity. However, once you step inside the Turbine Hall entrance, you will be treated with a surprise. On the left, the Boiler House originally transformed in 2000, and on the right, you will notice the new extension known as the Switch House, soon to be open to the public. Together expanding the Tate Modern, both local and global visitors will be able to experience modern and contemporary art like never before.

Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths

Designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron – who also designed the original conversion of the Bankside Power Station – the Switch House increases the size of the Tate Modern by 60 per cent, with 75 per cent of the art on display originally acquired by the Tate Modern in 2000. Further, half of the solo displays across both the Boiler House and Switch House will be dedicated to women artists.

With the new extension, the Tate Modern will become the world’s first museum to dedicate spaces to live art, film and installations. Whilst the Boiler House displays modern art from as early as the 1900s addressing social issues, the Switch House will display art from the 1960s to now, exploring how the roles of not only the artist and the audience but also how the art piece itself have changed throughout time.

The Tanks: Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
The Tanks: Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths

Across time, artists have begun to ask more of their audiences, working with new media and technologies, forging a dynamic new relationship between artists, audiences and their artworks. Throughout the Boiler House, a Start Display will introduce new visitors to the museum and the artwork. Further, there will be four new displays throughout the house: In the Studio, exploring the artist’s process to the viewer’s experience; Artist & Society, on how artists engage with social and political issues in the world; Materials & Objects show how artists are breaking away from traditional art media and embracing new techniques, and Media Networks responds to the impact mass media and ever-changing technologies have on artists.

Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Installations in Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Installations in Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths

Over in the new Switch House, live art will be on display in the vast industrial space of The Tanks, ranging from performances to film and installations to interactive sculptures. Level 2 will explore the relationship between art and the environment around it in Between Object and Architecture, with installations such as David Medalla’s bubble fountain.

Artists have further taken on the role of performers and choreographers, and this is explored on Level 3 in Performer & Participant, whilst Level 4 has two separate displays. Living Cities explores the urban environments that half the world’s population lives in and how artists respond to it, and Artist Rooms is a dedicated room to artists – opening with the late work by one of the greats in modern and contemporary art, Louise Bourgeois.

Installation in Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Installation in Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Installation in Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Installation in Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Installation in Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Installation in Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths

There will also be art on display outside the gallery spaces, such as Ai Weiwei‘s Tree (2010) in the Turbine Hall. However, the newest addition to the Tate Modern will have you further exploring London. Making your way to Level 10 of the Switch House, you will be introduced to a spectacular 360-degree view of the surroundings.

The new Tate Modern is a fine example of how far art has changed over ten years and how influential it will be in ten years time. Further, the museum explores the fact that this is not just about art but also the building and the ability for London to shape itself as a local art community, supporting both local and global art. This is just the beginning.

View from bridge on Level 4: Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
View from bridge on Level 4: Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Installation in Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Installation in Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths

With a passion for art and education, as you explore the new Tate Modern, you will discover the importance of culture in London and importance culture has on art and people’s lives. The new displays will encourage people to further educate themselves and open their minds to the possibilities of the world.

The next year is set to see the incredible works of both modern and contemporary artists on display, including Georgia O’Keefe, Wifredo Lam, Philippe Parreno, Wolfgang Tillmans, Alberto Giacometti, and Modigliani. Featuring 800 works by over 300 artists from over 50 countries ranging from Chile to Thailand, the expansion of the Tate Modern will help to build a London where culture is leading the way.

Installation in Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Installation in Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Installation in Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Installation in Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Installation in Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Installation in Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths

‘Great cities are built around great public spaces. It is in a city’s squares, monuments, cathedrals and places of learning the people come together. The new Tate Modern sits firmly in that tradition. It has become a place to celebrate and share the uplifting experience of today’s great art. A building that was once London’s beating heart is now its cultural cathedral.’ – Lord Browne, Chairman of Tate

Viewing Platform from Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Viewing Platform from Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Viewing Platform from Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths
Viewing Platform from Switch House, Tate Modern | © Ellie Griffiths

The Tate Modern’s Switch House opens to the public on Friday 17 June 2016.

Sunday to Thursday 10AM-6PM, Friday & Saturday 10AM-10PM