PHOTO: Michelle and Barack Obama are living the high life. (photo via Flickr/The U.S. Army)
If you thought it would be an amazing luxury to live right next to the famed Tate Modern, think again.
The Daily Mail reports five residents of the Neo Bankside are suing Tate Modern officials for what they see as a massive invasion of privacy.
According to the report, Neo Bankside apartments that cost in upwards of £19 million ($23.9 million) are subject to the museum’s high-rise balconies that offer tourists a stunning view of the nearby area. Some have claimed this has meant myriad tourists snapping pictures of these not-so-humble abodes and its occupants.
If you had any doubts as to how well you can see into these apartments, Twitter offers a snapshot.
As you can, well, see, it’s very easy to peek into other people’s apartments by simply meandering out onto the museum’s viewing area. The claimants in the suit want monetary compensation and for the Tate Modern to put up a screen, via The Daily Mail.
How that would work we aren’t quite sure.
Presumably, the inhabitants want something outfitted that would block out any view of the nearby apartment building. Some, such as BuzzFeed UK’s James Ball, have taken umbrage with the lawsuit and what he views as pure inanity.
So, in Ball’s estimation, this invasion of privacy could have been avoided by simply not buying apartments that went up after plans for the views were made available.
Or, to put a humorous spin on it, this could always set a precedent from which we can all benefit.
One Twitter follower states Ball is incorrect in his assessment that approval came after. However, a Tate spokesperson issues the following, via the Mail: “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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Last September, Dezeen.com spoke with local politician Adele Morris who explains: “Residents were very distressed to suddenly discover they had no privacy at all in their homes. Nobody had anticipated that people would literally be hanging over the balcony and taking photographs of their rooms and then posting them on the internet…
"I sympathize with (Tate Modern), because they had all the necessary permissions—nobody has done anything wrong in planning terms. But people hadn't realized how the terrace would be used. They were aware there was going to be a terrace on the 10th floor, but no one imagined for one moment that people would go up there and focus attention directly into their homes.”
At the same time, the museum that houses volumes of modern art issued a statement. It reads, via Dezeen.com: “The viewing level is an intrinsic part of the free public offer of the new building, providing a 360-degree experience that is virtually unique to London. Since the very first plans were drawn up in 2006 we have been through an extensive consultation and planning process, and have maintained an ongoing dialogue with local residents.
"At no point during this process were any concerns raised regarding the viewing platform. There is signage encouraging the public and visitors to use it respectfully and responsibly.”
Not exactly British legal scholars, we can’t be sure how things will shake out for the residents or tourists.
It seems plausible that any lawsuit will fizzle out as plans for an observation deck were presumably available before dwellers signed on for their apartments. It’s also near-impossible to police what tourists photograph without prohibiting the practice altogether.
This is a case of a luxurious set of apartments being installed far too close to a tourist-laden hotspot. Sometimes that awesome opulence comes with a tremendous inconvenience, such as gawking lookie loos.
And, for any tourists heading to the Tate Modern, there are plenty of items to see and savor at this wonderful place without having to play your own version of “Rear Window.”