Several luxury apartment owners are suing London’s iconic contemporary art gallery, the Tate Modern, claiming that the gallery’s viewing platform has turned their homes into a “goldfish bowl.”
Five residents living in the multi-million pound Neo Bankside apartments overlooking the Thames are seeking an injunction from the High Court to prevent gallery visitors from peering into their homes.
In the legal documents, seen by The Guardian, the apartment owners argue that the Tate Modern’s viewing platform, which opened last summer, is “unreasonably interfering with the enjoyment of their flats” and has become a “nuisance.”
They claim that people on the platform look into their homes through binoculars and share pictures of their apartments on social media.
Residents of the Neo bankside building, where a three bedroom apartment costs £4,350,000 ($5,570,000), have fought against the viewing platform ever since the museum’s £260 million ($333 million) Switch House extension opened in June 2016. Previous Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota suggested that the residents put up net curtains if they wanted to protect their privacy.
Residents offered to pay for a screen on one side of the viewing platform but their proposal was rejected.
”I need to repeat the fact that clearly people purchasing those flats were in no doubt that Tate Modern was going to build its new Switch House building and the character and uses of that building were widely known. People purchased with their eyes wide open,” he wrote in The Guardian in September 2016.
The museum has put up a sign urging people to respect their “neighbours’ privacy”, but the apartment owners do not think this goes far enough. In their court order, they have suggested that the Tate Modern erects cordons to prevent visitors from accessing the area of the platform where they can glance straight into the apartments opposite.
Work began on the Neo Bankside apartments in 2009, the same year the Tate received permission to build the extension and the viewing platform.
A spokesperson for the Tate Modern told Newsweek: “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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