Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, Tate Modern’s Switch House was Tate Modern’s latest extension in 2016, radical in form and surface, yet intimately relative to the vast building to which it joins, which opened as London’s foremost modern art gallery in 2000. Shot recently by Bahaa Ghoussainy, the building that opened in 2016, is a model for museums in the 21st century.
Tate Modern is well versed with a history of big switches, switching a disused power station into the world’s most visited modern art gallery. It switched its once-deserted riverside location and brought about an influx of tourists. More than anyone else, it switched on the appeal of modern art to a global audience. With a new extension offering a significantly more accessible space and a 64m-high tower, comes a new switch. Form, elevation, and interior spaces switch from the main building’s rectangular to the new build’s angular.
The Switch House arranges the new spaces into a unique pyramid-shaped tower, with its concrete structure folding into dramatic lines as it rises. Clad in a perforated lattice of 336,000 bricks, the building reinterprets the power station's brickwork in a radically new way. The unique façade allows light to filter in during the day, and to glow out during the night, transforming into a veil that encapsulates the concrete skeleton of the new building with long horizontal windows cut across to offer new views and reveal details of the brickwork.
Additionally, Switch House puts environmental sustainability to be paramount at the heart of its design, through the use of high thermal mass, natural ventilation, solar panels, and new green spaces.
Ghoussainy tends to incorporate digital technology and other alternative image-making methods within his practice, believing that there is an intrinsic relationship between imagery and architecture, which he presently communicates through his work. This is demonstrated in both the themes of his projects and the methods utilized in their production.
Ghoussainy’s recent work focuses on the evolution of the built environment and the effects of technology on the physical world. His work as of late explores the transformation of spatial and material qualities of architecture and their translation into two-dimensional photographic works.