Design

This fly-through animation shows how The Shed can transform to create dynamic spaces for the performing arts, visual arts, and popular culture. Animation courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Rockwell Group.
Close up of The Shed's bogie wheels, March 2017. Photo by Tim Schenck.
Close up of The Shed's bogie wheels, March 2017. Photo by Tim Schenck.

Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Rockwell Group, The Shed’s 200,000-square-foot home comprises an eight-level base structure and a telescoping outer shell. The base building holds two expansive, column-free galleries totaling 25,000 square feet of museum-quality space; a 500-seat black-box theater that can be subdivided into even more intimate spaces; event and rehearsal space; and a creative lab that will be provided free to early-career local artists.

The telescoping outer shell can be deployed over the adjoining 20,000-square-foot plaza to create a 17,000-square-foot light-, sound-, and temperature-controlled hall that can serve an infinite variety of artists’ needs and uses, including as a theater seating 1,250 people or a standing audience of up to 3,000 people. Its ceiling acts as a theatrical deck, allowing for rigging across the entire volume of space above performers and audiences, as well as light and sound control. When the space is not needed, the shell can nest over the base building, freeing the plaza for outdoor use and programming.

Weighing more than eight million pounds when fully loaded with building systems and production equipment, the movable shell will travel on a double-wheel track based on gantry crane technology commonly found in shipping ports and railway systems. A rack-and-pinion drive will move the shell forward and back on four single-axle and two double-axle bogie wheels that measure six feet in diameter. It takes approximately five minutes for the shell to move from being nested over the base building to being fully deployed over the plaza, and vice versa, covering a distance of approximately 115 feet.

The exposed steel diagrid frame of the movable shell will be clad in translucent pillows of durable and lightweight Texlon-based polymer, called ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE). With the thermal properties of insulating glass at a fraction of the weight, the translucent ETFE will allow light to pass through and can withstand hurricane-force winds. Measuring almost 70 feet in length in some areas, The Shed’s ETFE panels are some of the largest ever produced.

With architectural references to the Fun Palace, Cedric Price’s unbuilt “anti-building” of the 1960s, The Shed can physically change at will and be responsive to myriad artistic ideas.

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Design Team

Diller Scofidio + Renfro is an interdisciplinary design studio that integrates architecture, the visual arts, and the performing arts. The firm established its identity through theoretical and self-generated projects before leading significant architecture projects such as the redesign of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the High Line in New York, and The Broad museum in dowtown Los Angeles. For their commitment to merging art, architecture, and culture, founding partners Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio were the first in the field of architecture to be recognized with the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Rockwell Group is a 250-person cross-disciplinary architecture and design firm that emphasizes invention and thought leadership. The studio merges architecture, theater, craftsmanship, and technology to create unique narratives for its work, which includes hospitality, luxury residential, airport terminals, cultural institutions, set design, products, exhibitions, and festivals. Recent projects include the TED Theater (Vancouver, BC), NeueHouse (New York, Hollywood, and London), and set designs for On The Twentieth Century, Kinky Boots, and She Loves Me, for which David Rockwell won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Scenic Design. Other honors include the AIA New York Chapter President’s Award, the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, and the Presidential Design Award.

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