Tate Modern

Enhancing a London icon

Delivering an iconic new addition to Tate Modern was always going to be challenging. Mace brought creativity and expertise to ensure the successful completion of the project, which was already a firm favourite on the London art scene.

Scroll down
Close

Tate Modern Project summary

Client

Trustees of Tate Galleries

Key partners

Herzog & de Meuron, Ramboll UK, Swift Brickwork

Services provided

Construction, Construction management

Sectors

Arts and culture

Locations

UK and Europe, UK - London and south-east England

Project timeline

Start date
2008
End date
2016
Close

Project story

Since opening in 2000, Tate Modern on London's South Bank have welcomed over five million visitors a year - more than twice what it was designed to accommodate. As a result, Tate sought an extension to the galleries that would redefine it for the 21st century.

Our role evolved during the development of this 11-storey structure (equivalent to 22 storeys of a standard commercial office block). Strong collaboration with the client and design team early on proved instrumental in achieving successful planning permission and saw our retention on the project as it moved to the next phase, with the team adapting to manage the construction as building works got under way.

Mace managed this complex construction project and maintained strong community relations with local residents.

Britain’s most important new cultural building since the creation of the Royal National Theatre in 1976 and the British Library in 1998, the Switch House at Tate Modern is an outstanding addition to London's cultural heritage.

Project stats

66% increase in gallery floor space
170,000 bespoke bricks

Points of note

Complexity of construction

There were a number of construction challenges involved, not least tying together the two buildings' foundations and constructing a new walkway between the two gallery spaces - all while members of the public continued to use Tate Modern. Only through collaboration and careful stakeholder management was the project successfully completed.

Building for the benefit of the local community

Our commitment to minimising the impact of construction on local communities was recognised in 2015 when the Tate Modern team received a gold award at the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) National Site Awards. Our commitment to the community also included holding cycle safety events, as well as raising thousands of pounds for a range of local charities. We also supported a number of apprentices through the project, ensuring that we created a lasting legacy.

Prefabrication is the name of the game

We used off-site prefabrication on a number of elements of the scheme to reduce the number of hours on site and produce components in a factory environment where they could be tested and verified in advance. This included sections of the concrete structure, which were produced in factories in Belgium and The Netherlands and assembled on site. We also constructed the bridge between the old and new buildings on level 5 before it was slid into place on level 4 over a weekend, thereby minimising the impact on visitors to the gallery.

“This has been a hugely complex project, requiring a huge effort from the whole team to pull together to overcome the construction challenges. It's a tribute to the Mace team that the new galleries have been so well received by the public and the Switch House is a welcome addition to London's cultural landscape.”

“The building is a prototype - it's never been done before and is a unique addition to the London skyline. It's been hugely challenging, making sure the design would work and adapting the plans along the way, and collaboration was key to its success. I'm hugely proud of what we've achieved and to have been involved with such a fantastic project.”

“The new galleries are amazing and the new bridge between the old and the new is fantastic!”