Press Association: Sherna Noah, May 4, 2017

Tate Modern’s Switch House Extension Named Blavatnik Building After Donor

Tate Modern’s new extension – one of London’s most striking modern landmarks – is being named Blavatnik Building.

The tower was previously known as Switch House – the technical name for the part of the power station which previously stood at the site.

It is being named Blavatnik Building after the global industrialist and philanthropist Len Blavatnik, 59, whose donation was one of the largest ever made to the Tate.

The extension, to the south of Tate Modern’s vast Turbine Hall, opened to the public in June 2016.

Outgoing Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota said: “The generosity of this gift is almost unprecedented in Tate’s history.

“The transformation and extension of Tate Modern was hugely ambitious and relied on many people to bring it to fruition, but Len Blavatnik’s enthusiastic support ensured the successful realisation of the project and I am delighted that the new building now bears his name.

“The six million visitors who have already experienced the Blavatnik Building… know what a huge difference it has made to Tate Modern and to London.”

Mr Blavatnik said: ‘My family and I are honoured to support Tate, and to be linked to this exceptional building. Tate provides incomparable service to the arts, culture and education throughout the world.”

Mr Blavatnik, a major international industrialist and philanthropist, was born in the Soviet Union and emigrated to the US with his family in 1978, becoming a US citizen in 1984, and a UK citizen in 2010.

His family foundation has funded projects and exhibitions at several arts venues in Britain, including the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the Museum of London, the Imperial War Museum, the British Museum and the Royal Opera House.

In 2016, his foundation funded the new Hall at the V&A redevelopment.

The Tate Modern extension was also funded by £50 million investment from the Government, £7 million from the Greater London Authority and £1 million from Southwark Council as well as a number of private individuals, trusts and foundations.