The Millbank Project is a multi-stage transformation of Tate Britain embodying the Tate’s commitment to providing a cultural experience appropriate to a world class museum.
The project will see the museum undertake a multi-stage transformation which will be delivered in a series of phases over the next twenty years.
The redevelopment takes inspiration by the Tate Centenary Development in the 1990s which created the Manton Entrance and Linbury exhibition galleries, as well as upgraded the galleries in the north-west quadrant.
The initial phase of development has been completed, costing £45 million and lasting two years, from 2010 to 2013. This section of the project has revamped the oldest part of the Grade II building; the Millbank Entrance, Rotunda, and galleries in the south-east quadrant – and created new spaces for display, education and social activities.
The subsequent phases of the project will be undertaken after 2014 with the aim of restoring the galleries in the south-west quadrant. A new suite of galleries will also be created as will visitor and work space on the site of Tate Britain’s current car park; which lies behind the main gallery building. The second phase will also renovate Tate Britain’s landscape facing the River Thames so that the gardens and seated areas are of a higher quality.
The project has been in planning since 2006 and has so far benefitted from the efforts of a range of contractors, designers and architects in order to progress. Main contractors Lend Lease have worked alongside project architect Caruso St John Architects; led by Rod Heyes and Michael Schneider, in order to completely renovate the vast property.
There was strong public demand for increased space, improved access and better facilities at Tate Britain, as the previous visitor experience had been diminished by a complicated layout and inadequate spaces. The venue was not user friendly, especially for school visitors who had to navigate their way around a complex route.
Another incentive for the Millbanks Project was the ever-increasing number of Tate Members, which has risen from 24,000 to 104,000 in the past ten years. The Tate wanted to improve the architectural quality and coherence of the building, as well as update the quality of the galleries and showcase the museum’s archive at the heart of the building’s foundations.
The project will also integrate learning within the body of the gallery and improve the overall quality of the visitor facilities, most notably the café. Creating a special space for members is of utmost importance and will be a large part of the renovation project as well as regaining the prestigious spaces around the Rotunda.
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