The Neo Bankside buildings in London.

New Observation Deck Prompts Angry Neighbors to Sue Tate Modern

Tom Batchelor reports in The Independent that residents of a series of glass-walled condominiums adjacent to Tate Modern’s new Switch House have filed a lawsuit against the museum. The plaintiffs claim that visitors are violating their privacy and turning them into “public exhibits” by taking photographs of their homes from the institution’s observation deck. The complaint states that this is a breach of their human rights due to “near constant surveillance.”

Residents, who say the photos of their apartments are being shared on social media, want the gallery to erect a screen blocking the view of their homes from the museum. The high court writ submitted in the case claims the viewing platform does “not provide a safe or satisfactory home environment for young children.” They also want Tate to pay their legal costs. The developer of the apartment buildings, Native Land, has previously said that prospective buyers of flats in what’s dubbed Neo Bankside—with apartments that have been marketed at nearly $25.5 million—could have easily seen marketing material showing the location of the planned viewing gallery at Tate, and that a model showing the planned Tate extension as it would stand next to Neo Bankside was also available.

A spokesperson for Tate said: “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.” Last year, the museum placed signs that read “Please respect our neighbours’ privacy” in areas that overlooked the Neo Bankside buildings.