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Blair hails Tate as Southwark success

"Tate Modern is a wonderful building which has helped to transform Southwark" claims the Prime Minister.

Tony Blair was speaking at the award ceremony held at the Hilton Hotel for the British Construction Industry Awards. Praising the Bankside building he said: "It has managed to achieve that difficult Balance of being awe-inspiring while still being welcoming and accessible. It is an excellent example of public building at its very best. Tate Modern is a deserved winner of this first Prime Minister's Award for Better Public Building because it sets a standard which I would like to see all public buildings to reach, and indeed surpass, in years to come."

In accepting the Award, Tate Director Sir Nicholas Serota said: "To win the first ever Prime Minister's Award for Better Public Building is a marvellous honour for the architects, consultants and builders who worked on the Tate Modern project. We started with the objective of creating a building that would make art accessible to large numbers and encourage new audiences. I think we have achieved this aim and have helped to put Southwark on the world map."

The Prime Minister's Award for Better Public Building will be made annually to a new building commissioned by or on behalf of central or local government and paid for principally with public funds, which is first-class in terms of design, construction, financial management of the project and the relationship it has to its surroundings, including the communities who live in the area.

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