The conversion of the Bankside power station in London into the United Kingdom’s National Museum of International Modern Art is one of the outstanding examples in Europe of the imaginative adaptation to new uses of an industrial building.
The power station was one of several built in the twentieth century on the banks of the River Thames in London to use coal from north-east England that was delivered by ship. It was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and built in stages from 1947. After the station closed in 1982, the five-storey turbine hall, 156 m long and 35 m high, was adapted as a gallery by the Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron. A two-storey penthouse known as the Lightbeam was erected above the original roofline. The 99 m high chimney is topped by a feature called the Swiss Light, designed by Michael Craig-Martin. A small part of the site continues in use as a sub-station. The Tate Modern can be approached from the City of London by the innovative Millennium Bridge.