London mayor Boris Johnson officially launched work on the Tate Modern's £215 million extension yesterday (January 6th).
Mr Johnson dug the first pile of earth for the new development which will increase the available exhibition and event space by 60 per cent.
The Tate Modern has become one of the most popular venues in London, pulling in five million visitors each year.
However, it was designed to accommodate just two million people, meaning the project to transform oil tanks of a former power station into exhibition space is much needed.
The work is due to be completed in 2012 and the Tate has so far raised £76.5 million towards the cost of the expansion.
Nicholas Serota, director of the venue, said: "The new Tate Modern development will be an iconic world-class addition to London's skyline."