April 2002 - The Geffreye Museum - English Domestic Interiors - Kingsland Road, E2
The museum is in a development of almshouses. The new extension is at the back, not spoiling the facade, but including a lovely restaurant building, that feels like being under the branches of a giant tree or under a canopy, and a sweeping circular staircase down to education rooms.
2002 - The Tate in London
The Tate has two galleries in London
- Tate Britain, at the original site in Pimlico, and Tate Modern, at the
new site in the converted power station at Bankside.
The new extension at Tate Britain, the Centenary development, was opened in November 2001.
Tate Modern was opened in May 2000.
The exterior of the Centenary development (as shown on
the left) echoes the lines and materials of the original building (shown on the right) but with much less decoration.
Inside, it has provided space for more facilities and exhibition space. I found the new spaces airy and plain, providing blank canvasses on which the artwork can be displayed sympathetically. Therefore, for me, the reason to visit Tate Britain is to see the collections and special exhibitions, or to eat at the restaurant, rather than to see the building.
Tate Modern - April 2002
From the outside, the building is severe and industrial.
It stands on South Bank of the River Thames, across the Millennium footbridge from St Paul's Cathedral.
Inside the full height of the building
is used in the main entrance way and smaller spaces are built into the
shell to provide galleries.
I couldn't really capture the space on camera: it is one of those places that you need to experience.
The main entrance is on a considerable slope: easier to walk down before walking around the galleries than up with aching feet !
The restaurant is at the top of
It has a magnificent view over the City of London and interesting food and wine.
April 2001 - The British Museum - Central London
The museum is housed in buildings that were built around an open courtyard, filled until recently with temporary structures, housing part of the collection. In the middle of the courtyard was the famous Reading Room that was not open to the public. The majority of the books have been moved to the British Library at St Pancras and the opportunity has been taken to clear the courtyard, to cover it with an arching plexiglass roof and to give visitors access across it. It is spectacular and beautiful and worth a visit, even if you do not penetrate into the collections, which include the Rosetta Stone and, controversially, the Elgin Marbles. The Reading Room is circular and is in the centre of the court. It has arched windows around it for light and a round skylight in the centre of the ceiling. Above the court, at a level where some of the tables can look through the arched windows into the Reading Room is a fine restaurant, which is similarly worth a visit.