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Tate Modern to unwrap Herzog & de Meuron ‘fuel tanks’ by 2012

Tate Modern has announced plans to open the first phase of its £215 million Herzog & de Meuron-designed extension next summer

Three enormous art and performances spaces are being built within the subterranean fuel oil tanks which were used when the building was a power station.

Entrance to the 30 metre tall and seven metre-high cylindrical spaces will be from the lower right-hand side of the contemporary art museum’s iconic turbine hall.

Once open, construction of Herzog & de Meuron’s 64.5 metre-tall extension building – phase two of the project – will start using the oil tanks as foundations.

Tate director Nicholas Serota said he was now ‘super confident’ the organisation would secure the remaining money needed to complete the £215 million project.

Describing the scheme, Tate Modern director Chris Dercon told the AJ: ‘A museum is not just about finances, bricks and works of art. It is a social sphere of interaction.

‘Tate Modern is already an icon for its exhibitions. The new extension plays on the urban plaza of the city and the new north to south connection will create an urban archaeology.

‘It was originally redesigned for 2m visitors but regularly receives 5m visitors. This success has enabled Tate to bring forward development initially planned for 2025.’

It is hoped the extension –due to complete fully by 2016 – will increase the gallery’s exhibition space by 70 per cent.

Herzog & de Meuron designed the original Tate Modern museum which opened in London’s Giles Gilbert Scott-designed Bankside Power Station at the turn of the millennium.

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