Letter: Tate is a loser not a winner

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The Independent Online
TANYA HARROD is quite right about Nicholas Grimshaw's Waterloo International Terminal and just as wrong in her other choice, the Tate Gallery in St Ives ('The symbol now arriving', Review, 19 December).

She terms the latter 'a cautious and, internally, rather fussy building'. It is far worse than that. The paths through the building are extremely confusing, which is not helped by a lack of intelligible signage and blocked corridors. Its architects have little sense of scale and proportion in their attempt to squeeze a grand palazzo floor plan within an overall footprint that is at best only a sixth as large as is needed to be successful.

Instead, the end result is a series of wrongly shaped rooms too small to properly hold and view even medium-sized artwork, and too tall (with poorly placed and unwashable clerestory windows), so as to engender a sense of uncomfortable ness. Everywhere, there seems to be yet another type of artificial lighting; one gallery space has three different systems, none of which has lamps capable of casting a simulation of filtered daylight.

An average quality design- build contractor could have done a better job with many of the details and the choices of finishes, never mind the workmanship which was only marginally better than the architecture. Parts of the inside are already starting to fall apart.

In short, it is without doubt the worst new museum I have ever had the misfortune to visit - my wife and I fled after some 15 minutes. If the Tate trustees ever venture forth again to build in the provinces, I hope they have at least one member who can visualise a building before it is built and then has the courage to stop the designer from realising another disaster.

D Greenhalgh

London W8

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