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Design Museum relocation to Bankside abandoned

Plans to relocate the Design Museum from Butler's Wharf to Tate Modern's Bankside campus have been abandoned, it emerged this week.

Land south-east of Tate Modern
Tate trustees decided against giving this plot of land - currently an EDF Energy worksite - to the Design Museum

In early 2006 the Design Museum revealed that it was exploring options to find a larger building than the converted Butler's Wharf banana warehouse it has occupied since it was founded 1989.

One of the oft-mooted suggestions was that the Design Museum could move to a site adjacent to Tate Modern, but this idea has now been vetoed by Tate's trustees, it emerged this week.

The published minutes of the May meeting of the Tate trustees record that: "The relationship with the Design Museum remained cordial in spite of the building partnership between Tate and the Design Museum having not come to fruition. The desire to collaborate on a Turbine Hall exhibition in 2009 still existed between the partners."

Details of the earlier discussion at the March meeting of the Tate's trustees are exempted from publication under the Freedom of Information Act for reasons of commercial confidentiality.

A Tate spokeswoman confirmed to Building Design magazine that trustees had voted against giving the area of land south-east of the former Bankside power station to the Design Museum.

This will enable Tate to focus on its own extension project for the south-west corner of the gallery site and keep its options open for a possible further expansion of Tate's own gallery space on the remaining land.

"There was great enthusiasm to have the Design Museum but... the idea of two projects going on at the same site was too complex — there would have been two independent project teams working on one site," the Tate spokeswoman told Building Design.

Also speaking to BD magazine, Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic said: "The museum is still determined to grow and we are looking at where the best place to do that is... we would like to stay in Southwark if possible."

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