Sumner Street


Transformation from street to convivial public space through both temporary, creative and permanent improvements.

The transformation of Sumner Street behind Tate Modern show how a transformation from street to convivial public space takes time and creative and tactical thinking.

This stretch of Sumner Street, linking Tate Modern with the Bankside Mix estate was one traffic dominated, but as the patterns of use shifted to more walking and cycling, so too did the street slowly evolve into a shared pedestrian and cyclist friendly space.

The street has been home to a number of meanwhile uses including the visionary creative collaboration between Tate Modern and Heather and Ivan Morrison on the Skirt of the Black Mouth – which released some of green space behind Tate Modern’s building site hoarding back into the public domain while works were underway to build the Tate’s Blavatnik Building.

This was then supplanted by the permanent landscaping that is in situ today, blurring the boundary between street and landscape.

The street works were designed by Gort Scott Architects and delivered by Southwark Council.