Peeping Tate? Luxe Neighbors Sue Tate Modern Over Visitor Voyeurism

They claim a viewing platform has turned their homes into 'fishbowls.'

The Neo Bankside apartments (L) and the Tate Modern extension (R). Photo courtesy BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images.
The Neo Bankside apartments (L) and the Tate Modern extension (R). Photo courtesy BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images.

Five residents of a luxury apartment building located next door to the new Tate Modern extension have launched a lawsuit against the museum, claiming that Tate visitors’ voyeurism is affecting their quality of life, putting them under “near constant surveillance,” and turning their homes into “goldfish bowls.”

The Herzog & de Meuron-designed extension was opened last year, featuring a 360-degree viewing deck on the top floor. Just a stone’s throw away are the Neo Bankside apartments, which are reportedly priced between £1.5 million (about $1.9 million) and £19 million (about $25 million). Many boast floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views of London’s skyline, and some directly face the museum.

“I don’t know how many people realized that the Tate extension would include this viewing deck… I understand where they’re coming from, because they’ve lost their privacy,” Suzanne Goldman, a resident of Neo Bankside whose apartment does not face the Tate, told the Guardian.

In September, artnet News reported that some residents of the apartments were getting waved at by Tate visitors from the viewing platform. Other visitors were taking pictures of the inside of the homes and posting them to Instagram, while some have reportedly used binoculars to get a closer look. The Tate responded by placing a sign on the platform reading, “Please respect our neighbours’ privacy.”

Soon after the controversy began to make headlines, Nicholas Serota, the Tate’s outgoing director, advised the affected residents, “If you want privacy, get net curtains.”

Apparently, neither of these solutions have been satisfactory. The residents even offered to buy the Tate a screen to cover part of the viewing platform, but the museum declined. In the end, it will be up to a court of law to decide which party will have to compromise with blackout shades.

A Tate spokesperson told artnet News“The design of the building has always included a high-level terrace for the benefit of the public, but we cannot comment further given the conditions of the legal process.”


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