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Tate St Ives

Tapio Snellman

On the shoreline: the renovation of Tate St Ives.


Facing the Atlantic Ocean, Tate St. Ives is an art gallery set in Cornwall and exhibiting work by modern British artists, linked to the St Ives area. Built between 1988 and 1993 on the site of an old gasworks, it was originally conceived as a site to exhibit only a permanent collection and designed for 70,000 annual visitors. With the time, Tate St Ives has grown in popularity and ambition, doubling its size in 2015 and receiving more than 210,000 people for year: after two years of works of renovation, conducted under the eye of the Jamie Fobert Architects, it has been lately reopened in October 2017.

The video aims to show the renovation and the powerfulness of the site, that at the time of the reopening was hosting an exhibition by the Londoner artist Rebecca Warren, titled "All that heaven allows", which is visible in the video, with its statues and sculptures standing in the center of the concrete and light structure of Tate St Ives. In doing it, the video focuses also on the connection between the art gallery and the landscape, remarking the mutual relationship between the museum and the city. The sound of the waves breaking on the sand, the wind, the ocean and the birds merge with the music composed by Hammock, creating a singular soundscape, unique to this place, where sky and water converge. The territory of St Ives is shown using the timelapse tecnique, so what we see are clouds passing by, the sun setting down, changing its colour, the everyday life of the inhabitants of the city strolling on the beaches: if one of the main concern of the citizen on the renovation of the museum was related to the growth in size of the gallery, this preoccupation was prevented by the intervention of the architect; the massive size of the building is almost invisible from the outside, creating a museum perfectly integrated with its surroundings.

The seasonal exhibition and workshop spaces, the permanent collection and all the hallway are filled with gentle lightening provided by the position of the museum, creating an usual continuum between the beach with its life of boats and surfers and the galleries full of artworks.

(Story by Sara Marzullo, The Architecture Player)

Authors icon Credits

Architect: Jamie Fobert Architects
Mentioned project: Tate St Ives (2017)
Project location: St. Ives, Cornwall, United Kingdom
Music: Hammok

United Kingdom 2017
Duration: 2'37"