Guiding light

Explore the new 600 sq ft Jamie Fobert Architects-designed extension of Tate St Ives inside and out, courtesy of  filmmaker Tapio Snellman

‘From the beginning, we were concerned to design a building which answered the needs of Tate but also felt grounded in its rural, coastal setting,’ says Jamie Fobert, of his extension design, which is sunk deep into the cliffs of Porthmeor Beach cliffs. The Cornish wildflower-covered rooftop doubles as both public garden and look-out point. Below, ceramic cladding mirrors the hues of the sea, complementing the shell-white walls of the existing rotunda, which was completed in 1993 by London firm Evans and Shalev.

‘Artists have long been drawn to St Ives’ very specific quality of light,’ Fobert explains. ‘Our ambition was to capture this, and draw it into the gallery so that a true sense of the changing sky exists within the space.’ To achieve this, he organised the 500 sq m volume gallery around six monumental skylights, that filter light atmospherically through 1.5m deep ceiling beams.

The column-free space below can be split into six smaller venues, dependent on the scope of each exhibition. Contemporary sculptor Rebecca Warren’s ‘All That Heaven Allows’ – a solo show of her expressive, roughly-worked sculptures – inaugurates the space, and fills every inch. Drawing connections between her practice and the geographical context of St Ives, it’s an apt calling card for the gallery’s new, locally-inspired wing.

Tate St Ives, Porthmeor Beach, St Ives TR26 1TG. For more information, visit the website. Courtesy of Jamie Fobert Architects and Rebecca Warren. Film: Tapio Snellman

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).