Tate Modern extension opens, an iconic addition to London’s skyline

17 June 2016

The much anticipated Tate Modern extension has opened in London today. "One of the most spectacular buildings London has seen in decades" comments Robert Bevan, Architecture critic for London's Evening Standard.

Ramboll. Tate Modern Extension: Image: Daniel Shearing

Ramboll. Tate Modern Extension: Image: Daniel Shearing

Martin Burden. Ramboll

Martin Burden

Consulting Director, Buildings
T: +44 7903 682 572
Philip Wilkinson. Ramboll

Philip Wilkinson

Director, Buildings
T: +44 7736 056 610

Standing at 10 storeys tall, the new £260m Tate Modern extension will provide an enhanced visitor experience with an increased display space of 60%. The additional space enables Tate Modern to display a greater variety of artworks, and show more artists from around the world, so that they can present an increasingly international view of modern and contemporary art from this seminal British institution.

The complex irregular form is visually harmonised with the original building through its unique and striking brickwork, and provides an iconic addition to London’s skyline. Appointed by the Trustees of Tate, Ramboll played an intrinsic role in helping to realise Tate’s vision for the extension, which is built on top of three disused oil tanks that have been adapted as exhibition spaces.

Herzog & de Meuron’s architectural vision for the brick façade envelopes the truncated, twisting pyramid structure. The corners and creases are column free, emphasising the continuity of the surface whilst also providing a 360° view of the River Thames, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Shard and the City beyond. In total 336,000 bricks were installed between August 2014 and February 2016, using a new system that could be installed in ‘all-weather’.

The building’s distinctive and complex geometry impacted many aspects of the building’s construction, from the brick arrangement, to the windows and precast façade panels, the internal structure and the scaffold. Inside every floor offers something unique. Four feature staircases are wide and deep, creating a place where people can circulate and connect, enhancing their overall experience and forming part of the overall visitor circulation strategy. Every facet of this building has been planned and engineered with incredible precision.

The lower floors of the new building and the partially rebuilt Switch House floors boast incredibly large rooms with spans of up to 18m. Achieving these clear spans, whilst being able to accommodate the essential loading conditions for the gallery, was very important for Tate Modern’s displays.

“It is a real privilege to have played such a pivotal role on the Tate Modern extension. From threading the buildings foundations around the oil tanks to defining the structure and the building envelope, we’ve helped realise the architectural vision and played an integral role in creating an iconic building that reflects the status of Tate Modern’s brand” Martin Burden, Director Ramboll.

Opened to the public on 17th June the Tate Modern extension is hugely welcome as visitor numbers since its opening in 2000 exceeded all expectations, averaging five million annually. The extension also includes additional learning spaces, retail areas, offices and a café.

Ramboll’s integral role in Tate Modern’s extension included structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, civil engineering, façade engineering and environmental consultancy.

Click here to view our video about Ramboll’s integral role in Tate Modern’s extension:


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