– it is the astonishing physicality and behavioural

–       Authors, Jon Beaverstock, Richard G. Smith and
Peter J. Taylor, reference Sassen’s work, defining global cities as
‘post-industrial production sites’ where innovations in corporate services and
finance have been integral to the recent restructuring of the world-economy now
widely known as globalization.’1 Smith2 however, questions the common assumption that
dominance in terms of control and command in business and economy establishes a
city as global, instead arguing that cities can be global in different respects,
for instance Jerusalem is a world city in the sphere of religion3, and Hollywood in the sphere of film and
entertainment. London however, cannot be rendered global in only one aspect, it
is a strongly multifaceted city. Despite its financial capabilities, London
owes its vast tourism to its social and cultural trades, in which it is an
international pioneer. AT Kearney’s 2012 Global Cities Index, developed independent
conditions, listing 5 main constituents of a global city; one of which being (the
lesser emphasised) value of ‘Cultural Experience
(number of sporting event, museums, performing arts venues, culinary
establishments, international visitors, and sister city relationships).’4 London profoundly
affects the world because of its internationally palatable entertainment
machine and the media that goes along with it. By contrast, Mumbai may be a
huge film centre, but serves largely a domestic audience5. Whereas
London lays claim to some of the most significant cultural homes and events in
the world, and it is the astonishing physicality and behavioural effect of the
structures baring these great works that catalyses and contributes to one’s
experience of them. The capital houses
the most important and popular art galleries and fairs in the world, such as
Freize, The National Gallery and the Tate Modern; the world’s greatest art is
magnetized to London. The local government nurtures social relations and
community connections to art, spending increasingly more to further the
culturally booming and diverse city, whilst simultaneously raising its
international profile. The benefit of London’s financial transformation and
international status, is that it’s now not just the economic centre of Europe,
it is also an architectural and artistic wonder6.

 

–     

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The historic
city of London is not one of antiquity and tourism, but rather is at the
international forefront for economic and cultural growth and innovation. The peculiar
interaction in London between past and present; old buildings intermingling
with the radically contemporary, creates a sense of temporality and progression
on a scale not seen in other top global cities, such as Hong Kong and New York.
Architecture dominates the status of a place; the slick high-rise buildings
dedicated to upmarket offices and the most successful companies in the city,
are shows of architectural creativity that imbue within us a sense of the sublime7
and indicate the cities intimidating institutional, industrial and economic
abilities. skylines in particular are a symbol of a cities power, both
financially and creatively. Skylines have been popularised in mainstream culture
and can become famous icons, serving as a kind of fingerprint artwork
representative of the city and its inhabitants; and hence they bolster a cities
international ranking. Skyscrapers in particular were a sign of advancing modernity.
London has made an active effort of integrating
innovation into its architecture, showcasing the city’s aesthetic fluidity
between antiquity and contemporaneity as one of its most attractive features. The
visual uniqueness and sheer height of landmarks such as the colloquially named
‘Walkie Talkie’ building8
and The Shard allow them to stand alone, demanding our awe, not only within
London’s skyline but against those of its fellow global cities. The inventive
playfulness of London’s famous skyscrapers are a sign of the architectural skill
and ingenuity being cultivated, and set it ahead of the crowd, iconising the
city.

 

 

the
architectural contest is now a vertical one, working to design economically
sound, yet aesthetically different social housing buildings that still fall
within the slick ‘glass and steel’ style that London has accomplished for
itself appears to be the new order, with New London Architecture9 estimating another 263 skyscrapers proposed and constructed by
2018 the top cities world-wide engaged in an
architectural arms race to create the most spectacular ‘vertical world’ and
impressive skyline, comprised of skyscraper ingenuity. These buildings go
further than a one up-man-ship on the global front, but are spatial phenomenon
that hold significance across the plains of aesthetics, representation, human
experience and architecture10.
The iconography of a skyline created by pioneering, imaginative and vast
architectural works not only contributes the cities stance as a world centre,
but also affects the people existing within its skyline; To have an architectural say in London ‘offers the chance to test
new modes of engagement for the urban landscape in one of the most dynamic
cities in the world.’11

Regardless of economic pressures, though it has been claimed
that museums are an ‘endangered species’12, the
Tate Modern set out to invite the public sphere into its, once considered,
private, or at least exclusive sphere. Aiming to bring art and education to the
masses by appealing to the public almost as an entertainment service; in a
society saturated with entertainment and “distraction machine’s”13 the
Tate had to reinvent what it meant to be an art gallery, reupholstering the
art-world experience without threatening the ‘aura of its grand traditions’ and
its culturally elevated audience. By inhabiting Gilles Scott’s old powerhouse,
the Modern was able, under the alias of refurbishment and modernity, to use its
space to transform the public realm as well as set itself aside as an
innovation in the housing of great art. As theorised by Carol Duncan, the art the
western model of aesthetic appreciation as a transforming, spiritual process,
makes the museum a setting for a specific kind of ‘secular ritual’14. The
art gallery and the ritual it involves can confirm the identity and social
standing of those who are best equipped to respond to the galleries prompts
within the space. Consequently, those who fall outside of this ability to enact
the ritual, feel ostracised and alienated from entering into an art-experience.
The Tate Modern’s consciousness of this has guided their transformation of the
gallery and the public’s experience of it. ARCHITECTURE SPECIFICS

Architect Snohetta talks about the ability of
architects to herd people into certain areas, and to act in certain ways
without them even noticing it is happening, using the physical design of their
buildings, walls, pathways and entrances alone. Buildings manipulate the way we
behave and feel, for example, narrower, grandiose sites tend to formalise and
constrain behaviour, whereas open, light spaces construct more energetic,
uplifted responses. This is proven in the architecture of the Tate Modern and
helps us to understand what makes it such an appealing place; The
Herzog and de Meuron building is constructed on seven levels, built with plenty
of window space and wide corridors and exhibition spaces, it provides 84,250
square feet of permanent exhibition space. The immense Turbine Hall that forms
the core of the building adds 35,520 square feet, and the total internal floor
area of the building is 371,350 square feet. That is a great
deal of open expanse to explored and allured into for the art muggle and mogul
alike. The Tate Modern’s strategies of display cut across old
hierarchies to make the museum a more popular public, pro-communal place for
every demographic. Large
scale, open plan and transparent structures and entrances, with plentiful
communal space and walkways, Indicates the
shift toward aesthetically interesting architectures, as opposed to economical
and intimidating scales due to a revitalised appreciation of culture and arts
within society that has been able to influence the bold architectural
statements of genuine civic value and transform of London’s architecture and
fundamental structure; Its lively public spaces ‘reaffirm that enlightenment
comes from the free exchange of ideas, not just inward contemplation’15. To
describe a building as pro-community is to mean that the intrinsic elements of
its architecture aim to extend themselves outside of its own limits, folding
out into the public, and inviting others in. Snohetta attempts
to use architecture ‘to alter a city’s
relationship to itself. Both also depend on successfully managing the complex
psychology of public space’16. By
consciously creating an inviting space, the Tate attempts to echo this sentiment
throughout the city. Snohetta believes architects have a duty consider the
emotional and physical effects their buildings may impose upon the public, and
how they can shape a society by implementing, or removing, proactive and
accepting atmospheres. Hence furthering architectures responsibility to form a
global city in both its animate and inanimate participants. Architectures control
an overall atmosphere that distils itself further than the boundaries of its
own walls. Architectures contribute to the success of public access to a wider
variety of culture and education, contributes to improving the city’s ranking
on the global city index in terms of its criteria for having a diverse, multifaceted
and culturally interested society. Architecture constitutes our cities both
physically and mentally by actively deciding the aesthetic and behavioural
destiny of a city, furthering, or hindering it towards becoming a global
centre. Architecture acts as a catalyst for innovation, as the quality of the
environment is reflected in the quality produced by those who inhabit it: a
self-fulfilling prophecy.

It
is widely believed that globalisation of economic production is the main
rational behind many urban developments, global cities are competing with each
other to attract mobile trans-national investors by using urban infrastructure and
emphasising the worth of cultural capital. Though finance is a main trajectory,
economy alone cannot qualify an urban space as a success. In the eyes of the
public, a city cannot qualify as global, as a truly well-rounded, enjoyable and
stable environment without breading a diverse and rich cultural hub. An ideal
culture supports the relationship held between a diverse, society that can
share in all the manifestations of human creativity and intellect,
collectively displayed and with a non-discriminatory and wide
representation, in accessible, architecturally and aesthetically varied and
welcoming public spaces. Although many highly populated and innovative cities
are economically strong, highly functional, socially stable and safe, they
cannot compete as a global city if they fail to produce such an environment, an
environment that nurtures community, cultural activity, all levels of
self-expression, and creative or intellectual interests. Regardless the vital economic
benefits of building a wealth of culture, the city simply does not warrant
desire or esteem without one.

The
quest for the title of a global city cannot be partaken without the intention
of also becoming a global cultural
city. As aforementioned, the arts catalyse economic development as well as
having indispensable social and cultural benefits. The two factors are
co-dependant, without a stable economy that allows for investments and high-end
markets, art could not flourish, and without the arts the economy would suffer
and the sustenance of the city would be diminished. The tourism produced by
London’s arts alone is enough to carry the city into the annals success. The
role that the high-end arts can fulfil in upgrading the economy, by building
flagship cultural infrastructure and hosting high-profile art exhibitions and
auctions, is becoming an increasing priority for those in charge of the
infrastructure and architecture of London. This change is due to a
transformation of industrial populations into ‘knowledge-based and service-oriented
economies in which human capital has become the most valuable asset’17,
the hierarchy of values in the constitution of a world centre has made a
decided shift, from hard-line finance to cultural prominence. The Tate Modern
most famously exemplifies the economic, reputational and cultural echo that art
can create on an international scale.

Ground breaking artists and famous artworks raise
the status of any global city and draw huge attention; however, such respected
art would not reside in a city without an adequate space in which it can be
housed. Here, architecture once again becomes a point of importance, the likes
of Damien Hirst’s For the Love of God, or Tracy Emin’s Bed would refuse to be
shown in a place not of equal modernity and inventive thought, nor in a house
unfitting to the work itself. Henceforth the grandeur and size of The National
Gallery are implicit in the means of acquiring great classical works, and the
contemporary style and space offered within the Tate Modern make it possibly
the only gallery in London so fitting and worthy of showing famous contemporary
artworks such as Emin, Hirst, Hockney, Whiteread, Ai Weiwei and so many other
modernist artists.

The Tate modern and its recent extension have revolutionised
the overall look of London’s Bankside, from a flat horizon interrupted with the
singular stark pillar of Gilles Scott’s power station, the regeneration
of a much-neglected area of the city has transformed not only Bankside, but London
as a whole. The conversion, by the Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron, is
marked by its extreme simplicity, at once enhancing the physical presence of
the original architecture and completely transforming its derelict and
impenetrable interior into an accessible, light-filled exhibition center.18 Plentiful
circulation spaces are the main ingredient of the Tate Modern, from the wide
slanted entrances that naturally sweep you into the Turbine Hall, which
occupies the heart of the gallery, to the third-floor bridge which easily
allows you to drift across into the Boiler House extension whilst providing a
vast perspective of the grand hall. A diverse range of seating is provided
throughout the gallery, allowing you to stop and rest or admire various aspects
of the Tate at your own pace and pleasure. From monumental spiralling
staircases to vertigo-inducing balconies and viewing platforms, to smooth
concrete curvatures and no implicit pathways that demand you to follow a
certain route or direction, the Tate Modern is a vast and sublime space that gives
you a sense of freedom to wander wherever you like, however you like. The Tate
sheds the shackles of antiquated museum behaviours and etiquettes, and is in
fact a loud and bustling gallery, with the turbine hall acting as a public
piazza in which to gather, chat, people watch, and even lie down. Lord Browne, chairman of the
Tate, highlighted this as an important element of the gallery claiming that its
‘great public spaces’ that build ‘great cities’19. Consequently, the Swiss maestros
have made Tate Modern the most visited gallery of modern art in the world20.

 

the Tate Modern is concerned with modernism in
not a purely artistic sense, but endeavours to encapsulate, and emulate, a
state of modernism both within and outside of its self- lending its modernism
to the entire city of London, setting an example of reinvention, renovation,
and innovation. The Tate Modern is an exemplary display of an
architecture embodying what it is to be global, and to indispensably contribute
to London as a world centre. The Tate modern is a pioneering enactment of
contemporaneity, from its architecture to its content, the modern is an
impressive and internationally renowned institute that undoubtedly lifted
London’s artistic, Architectural and cultural status within the international
sphere. Architects Herzog and De Mueron are
celebrated for turning the old industrial Bankside Power station, a cold steel
and brick building into the community space and cultural landmark that is the
Tate Modern. The Tate is considered transgressive for placing such a refined cultural
medium such as art, inside an immense industrial shell, instead of the grandeur
and gold leaf of grand halls in which it is usually shown. Unlike the Tate
Britain, the Tate modern takes artworks and their viewers, out of their comfort
zone and into an alien space, since replicated in gallery’s such as The White
Cube and Victoria Miro. The Tate modern itself is a vast and imposing, arguably
ugly building, that dominates 371,350 square foot of land, and 325 feet of sky,
on London’s South bank of the river themes. The imposing rectangular grey
building is accenting with a central chimney, like a flagpole or spire for the
gallery, that can be seen across the city, it is often referred to as an
‘Industrial cathedral’21.The Tate Modern is an ever adapting and innovative cultural hub that
refuses to stand still both artistically and physically, in 2016 the Tate added
the Switch House to its structure, billed as ‘the UK’s most important new cultural building since the British Library22’ it expanded their exhibition space, allowing more room for international
and female-lead artworks, the addition also added to the touristic aspect of
visiting the London gallery by providing an impressive 360-degree view of
London over the Themes. Less than a year later the Tate have new architectural
plans in place; ‘The vision of
the new building is to redefine the museum for the twenty first
century, integrating learning, display and social functions.’23 The
Tate’s 10-floor extension has been praised and awarded as “a project of immense
complexity and ingenuity”24 by the Royal Institute of British Architects, an applause that echoes
across the globe.

When
considered in comparison to archetypal gallery experiences like that of The
National Gallery, with its grand marble staircases that lead you in an orderly
yet confusing route through their richly embellished halls of patronage that
are as beautiful as some of the artworks, you can understand why many of the
modern public would be deterred from entering such an institute. The National
Gallery in all its refinery is for many, an intimidating space reserved for
well-educated and the upper rankings of society, who can ‘properly’ appreciate
the more antiquated artworks on show. The large Romanesque gallery dominates
Trafalgar Square with its billowing pillars and staircases, giving it a sense
of precedence over the whole vicinity. Alternatively, the more interactive
Tate, emits a more inviting aura, as it intrigues the viewer upon first sight
and its entrance and opening hall feels like a continuation of the space and
welcomes you in. It strikes the balance between welcoming the unsuspecting
tourist, and yet not deterring the art-world elite. It is a neutral, solely
art-focussed foundation, which catalyses artistic education, appreciation and
innovation. Unsurprisingly, when the Tate Modern opened it received three times
the number of visitors the consultants had predicted, and many of those ‘unexpected’
visitors were first-time visitors to art galleries, or even to museums.25

In 1995 Progressive
Architecture magazine wrote on Global Cities reporting that “a shift of
historic proportions … and architecture is the premier symbol of that
transformation … the Chinese, as well as many other Asians, tend to want
buildings as tall as possible and in an ostentatiously Modern style as can be
found.”26 In relation to what is already
forerunning in the architectural battle to the future, and referencing Asian
nations to be advancing upon the already established western Global Cities such
as London and New York who have been displaying ever more modernising forms. Architecture
shapes the life of the city and specific examples of brilliance, such as the
Tate Modern, can be a defining feature of a city’s culture and be a looking
glass into the countries life for foreign eyes. The Tate Modern symbolises
contemporary art’s first step towards a truly contemporary future; embodying
its values both inwardly and outwardly, actively encompassing the public, and
putting contemporary art on its truest, most accessible platform yet. “Our aim is to be local, global, to have relationships
with community’s close to us and those across the world,”27 these ambitions and
successes and its influence on art and society are why The Tate Modern is such
an inspiring part of what makes London a leading global city.

1
Renn, Aaron M., What Is a Global City? New Geography,12/07/2012

2
Richard G. Smith is a British geographer. who focuses on the
philosophy on urban studies
and poststructuralist cities.

3
Massey, Doreen, World City, John Wiley & Sons, 2013.

4
Renn, Aaron M., What Is a Global City? New Geography, 12/07/2012

5 http://www.newgeography.com/content/004809-global-city-framework

6
Jones, Dylan, Move Over New York: Why London is the world’s greatest city, BBC
Culture, 9/05/2016

7 HEGEL? THE SUBLIME

8 20
Fenchurch Street, a commercial skyscraper.

9 A report published earlier this year by New London Architecture,
an independent forum group, and the property consultants GL Hear: https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/esmagazine/from-the-south-bank-to-the-east-end-how-londons-skyline-is-being-redefined-by-star-architects-a3096516.html

 

10 McNeill, Donald, Skyscraper Geography, Sage Journals,
1/02/2005

11 https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/esmagazine/from-the-south-bank-to-the-east-end-how-londons-skyline-is-being-redefined-by-star-architects-a3096516.html

12 https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en==ee0oTg-WYA0C=fnd=PA51=tate+modern+is+the+most=e_2a1Dr0qO=FGYf7AMZfaLhJB-lqKgXJcHRk4g#v=onepage=tate%20modern%20is%20the%20most=false

13 https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en==ee0oTg-WYA0C=fnd=PA51=tate+modern+is+the+most=e_2a1Dr0qO=FGYf7AMZfaLhJB-lqKgXJcHRk4g#v=onepage=tate%20modern%20is%20the%20most=false

14 https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en==AMB4m45ThS0C=fnd=PA78=carol+duncan+museum=0Zyq-PJep1=fGXAA4Hxoje3aSuKvmrxbqefkzI#v=onepage=carol%20duncan%20museum=false

15 https://www.pps.org/article/toward-an-architecture-of-place-moving-beyond-iconic-to-extraordinary

16 Owen, David, The Psychology of Space, The New Yorker,
21/01/2013

17 http://theprotocity.com/high-end-art-and-the-quest-for-global-city-status/

18 https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=NMMzAQAAIAAJ=Building+Tate+Modern:+Herzog+%26+De+Meuron+Transforming+Giles+Gilbert+Scott+R+Moore,+R+Ryan,+A+Hardwicke,+G+Stamp=Building+Tate+Modern:+Herzog+%26+De+Meuron+Transforming+Giles+Gilbert+Scott+R+Moore,+R+Ryan,+A+Hardwicke,+G+Stamp=en=X=0ahUKEwj2q73fv9PYAhUH_iwKHTx5D7oQ6AEIQTAF

19
Mollard, Manon, ‘A museum’s
architecture shouldn’t be its best exhibit, but at the Tate Modern it steals
the show’, The Architectural Review, 8/09/2016

20 art
newspaper, tate most visited modern art gallery in the world.

21
Archive Journeys: Tate History http://www2.tate.org.uk/archivejourneys/historyhtml/bld_mod_architecture.htm

22
Masters, Tim, Tate Modern Shows Off New Pyramid Tower, BBC Entertainment &
Arts, 14/06/2016

23
Tate Modern Projects: Vision http://www.tate.org.uk/about-us/projects/tate-modern-project/vision

24
Singh, Anita, Controversial Tate Modern Extension Wins RIBA Award for
‘Ingenious’ Design, The Telegraph Newspaper, 22/06/2017

25
Nittve, Lars, How Tate Modern Transformed London- and Beyond, Apollo Magazine,
31/05/2016

26
The Symbolism of The Global City https://www.adamarchitecture.com/images/PDFs/RA-Globalisation_The%20Symbolism%20of%20the%20Global%20City-01.pdf

27
Masters, Tim, Tate Modern Shows Off New Pyramid Tower, BBC Entertainment &
Arts, 14/06/2016