Reader Kevin, who went on a tour of Margate's unfinished Turner Contemporary yesterday, writes:
I am completely disinterested in this project but I wondered if you would like my immediate impressions...
I arrived five minutes before the hour, brandishing the letter saying I’d been invited on the tour. The person I invited along and I were pleasantly shepherded in to Droit House to receive our fluorescent jacket and hard hat.
Assembling at the front entrance to the site, we paused as the KCC guy and the Turner lady welcomed us to the tour and mentioned facts, figures, safety concerns (it’s a building site, so try not to trip) and the ban on the use of cameras on the (spurious) reason of copyright issues.
Entering the site, we were then lead on a predetermined route through the concrete walls/hanging wires/scaffolding that is the Turner at the moment.
I don’t know how much of it, if any, you have seen but it is a lot bigger on the inside than can be seen on the outside. Tardis came to mind.
Our group of 25 were then led on a tour of the future reception area, cafe, shop, gallery, and conference space on the ground floor, and large gallery spaces and education space on the first.
Big windows. No, seriously big windows. They have put in big floor to ceiling windows in every space, and the roof is 60 ft in places, but to get valuable works of art down to a seaside setting they have an atmosphere controlled/we can control the natural light area, which means that as well as contemporary art works there will be ‘proper pictures' on the walls (sorry, I asked the question, but I prefer ‘proper pictures') including, from the opening, a ‘Turner’ on loan from the Tate.
Our group were invited to ask questions and they involved what type of floor in the gallery, the lift (it will be able to hold 100 people, apparently) and the type of art on display.
After 45 minutes we returned our safety gear and, passing the television cameras, left to make our own minds up.
Yes, obviously it’s still a building site.
It is a lot bigger inside than you would think.
It will have great views, though they were already there.
The people involved really care.
I asked Turner lady if she could give us a one sentence reply to pass on to people who moan about the ‘eyesore’ on Margate harbour. She said things about ‘Dynamic’ ‘Forward Looking’ etc.
I would suggest they just say ‘Give it a chance'.