As I write this, I am sitting on the hard floor of what is the vast space known as the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern in London. Ever since I first visited here in 2006, I have imagined returning. To me, this is a wonderful place – a masterstroke of a landmark building. I think its a better piece of architecture than Guery’s Guggenheim Bilbao, and other buildings with a similar iconic intent. Let me tell you why.
To the uninitiated, this is an interesting building, but not flashy. To the initiated, its heritage adds a dimension that is largely irrelevant, but altogether exceptional.
The building is large, of coarse. But its scale doesn’t seek to intimidate or assert power over those that visit. Instead, from the inside at least, it inspires awe. It’s an object lesson in scale and perspective. It’s big, and it is powerful, but it’s power bound up in it’s previous life as an instrument of human ingenuity, and not in the statements the architects might have been trying to make.
If you don’t know about the rejuvenated building that is now the Tate Modern, you should learn about it. By doing so, you will learn about what makes good place-making architecture.
You should also get on a plane and visit this place, even if you visit nothing else in Europe. This is, as I said before, a wonderful place.