When the Tate institution first announced its plans to build a ‘Tate Modern’ gallery on London’s Bankside it stated its preferences for a ‘rural’ and ‘minimal’ architecture. These are contested terms whose significance for the resultant contemporary art space is by no means apparent. Focusing on the suites of gallery-rooms built on levels 2, 3 & 4, as part of the initial power station transformation, which opened to the public in 2000, this paper will examine the notions of rurality and minimal architecture that underpin the contemporary art space. It will weave their genealogy out of three themes: First, the Tate’s stated interest in the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk as a potential model for the new gallery. Second, the influence of the artist Rémy Zaugg, who had worked with Tate’s architects for the project, Herzog and de Meuron, on a number of studio-gallery projects prior to the Tate commission. Third, the modernist tradition of the ‘white cube’ and its post-modern critique dating from the mid 1970s.