How Bankside Power Station became Tate Modern

Bankside Power Station was built in two phases between 1947 and 1963.  It replaced a previous power station.  It was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who designed Battersea Power Station, Waterloo Bridge and the red telephone box.

NPG x16663; Sir Giles Gilbert Scott by Howard Coster
Sir Giles Gilbert Scott.

It was constructed by a red brick shell supported by an interior steel structure, with a single central chimney. The building is 660 ft long, with the chimney 325 ft high. The power station produced electricity for Londoners, but closed in 1981.

The site became derelict after closure and it was constantly at risk of being demolished by developers. Many people campaigned for the building to be saved and put forward suggestions for possible new uses. In April 1994 the Tate Gallery announced that Bankside would be the home for the new Tate Modern.

The beginning of the conversion in 1994.

Later that year it was announced that a competition would be launched for architectural companies to submit designs to redesign it.  From the initial 148 entrants, the company Herzog & de Meuron were announced as winners of the competition.  The cost was £134m to make the conversion to an art gallery and was completed in 2000 when it opened to the public.

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