The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Click to see full size. Photo © Richard Bryant/Arcaid, courtesy Evans & Shalev
Tate St Ives stairway © John East
Tate St Ives Interior © Elain Harwood

100 Buildings 100 Years

1993: Tate St Ives, Cornwall

Architect: Eldred Evans and David Shalev
Location: Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 1TG

St Ives was the centre of English artistic creativity in the 20th century. Tate Gallery’s acquisition of Hepworth’s sculpture garden in 1976 was followed by this major gallery overlooking Porthmeor Beach, housing the Tate’s collections and bringing international exhibitions to Cornwall.

Eldred Evans’s early modernist schemes remained unrealised, or have been demolished, but she reasserted her career in 1984 with the postmodern Truro law courts, and won a competition for St Ives in 1989. This too is monumental: a blowsy contrast to the subtle works within and stung by the tang of the sea. The view is framed as an artwork that almost usurps the man-made works exhibited in a series of studio spaces. The white entrance drum was inspired by the columnated gallery at the National Museum of Wales, where Evans had curated a show of her father’s work. The gallery’s popularity has prompted a series of proposed extensions.

by Elain Harwood

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