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Tate Modern

Former Old Bankside Power Station, Southwark.



There's not many buildings in the world that have been praised to the hilt as this one, especially after it's scarey refurb. It seems the influencial amongst us has talked up this unceremonial gutting so much that no-one has dared provide a satisfactory critique at the this madness that is Tate Modern. Well, here goes. I hate what they've done to old Bankside. I don't know why they bothered touching it. The regeneration into some ghastly gallery has no respect whatsoever for the building's past and it's architectural history. It's all in the name: Tate MODERN. That says it all. Establishments like them shouldnt be given historic heritage to abuse. Let them loose on a disused car factory. There's plenty of them...

bankside london


And the poor old building, just look at her now. Gutted and emptied of it's fittings and treasures and decor. Just a void of nothingness, or occassionally showing a heap of tourists lost in the stupid vastness that is the Tate Modern. Wandering around endless white corridors or overpriced cafes and wine bars, or pouring delight over exibits of unmade beds. But where is the power station? What of its crafted fixtures? You can see from the outside that this is a church to the thrust of industrial force. But it's all gone. There is no other public space on earth that is so unsightly and devoid of real natural pleasure. No other gutting in history that has scoured it's innards of any remains.

bankside power station


Personally, I could always see great potential in this building, old warhorse as she was. Built by the same chap who did Battersea's Power Station, this is less of a vision, but important all the same. Always featured on the same skyline as St Pauls since it was built in 1947, but was only up and running until the eighties, and remained a disused hulk for over 10 years, only beloved of tour guides viewing from pleasure boats. Saved from destruction in the nineties, I hoped that it would be treated with respect. But seeing what they have done, was it really worth saving? They ripped out the old turbines, took out any valuable history from its insides. Very little of the old works remain. The interiors are unbearable. Even as an art gallery, it fails due to the sheer blandness of the finish.

tate modern


It was a great monster of a building, and every time I passed it, from the ocean waves, I imagined that great tribute to science and technology that could be displayed, something the science museam could only dream about. Maybe they could have built around it, or fashioned a glass floor. Instead, we have an empty shell that Ikea would be proud of. So what was the point? I'm sick to death of trendy flappers telling London how great the space is. It's not. It's a grand old building abused by it's modernist masters, having its soul ripped out of it's carcase. Ok, so they saved the exterior. But I'd rather it had gone to it's maker in pieces rather than survive into this era of clinical architectural taxidermy.

Charles (of London Town)

E-Mail Charles at: londondestruction@yahoo.com

The London Destruction Website.
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