Thomas Heatherwick’s Vessel may be the most visually expressive piece in Hudson Yards, but the opening of The Shed – a new cultural organisation dedicated to commissioning and developing original works of art across all disciplines and for all audiences – promises to be the most impactful. Its highly anticipated arrival this week not only puts its vibrant, opening programme of musical performances and art in the spotlight, but also gives visitors the chance to finally experience its innovative, adaptable building, designed by lead architect Diller Scofidio + Renfro and collaborating architect Rockwell Group, in the flesh.
In development since 2008, Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell Group’s design for The Shed is a 200,000 sq ft structure that can physically transform to suit and support the needs of the artists. The eight-level building comprises two levels of gallery space, a theatre, a creative lab for local artists, a rehearsal space and an event space, all anchored by a 17,000 sq ft courtyard space (known as The McCourt), suited for large-scale performances, events and installations. These can be both indoors or outdoors, depending on whether the building’s telescoping outer shell is retracted or not. Made possible by its exposed steel diagrid frame that is moved by a kinetic system inspired by gantry cranes found in shipping ports and railway systems, the movable shell rests on large bogie wheel assemblies that only requires 180 horsepower (a Toyota Prius uses 134 horsepower) to deploy.
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