New York City’s cultural scene has just increased tenfold with the opening of the highly anticipated non-profit arts center, The Shed. Coming on the heels of the opening of Heatherwick’s Vessel, The Shed is the second iconic opening in Hudson Yards, the largest private real estate development in the United States. The stunning piece of contemporary architecture was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS + R) in collaboration with Rockwell Group as a flexible, multipurpose space to accommodate a wide variety of creative commissions.
Inspired by Cedric Price’s unrealized Fun Palace concept from 1961, The Shed has an open infrastructure that allows for both outdoor and indoor performances thanks to a moveable shell over a base building. The shell has the ability to expand and contract thanks to rails that allow the membrane to telescope out. The system is also a subtle homage to the High Line, a true marriage of New York’s past industry and contemporary design.
The outer shell creates a 17,200-square-foot hall with light, sound, and temperature control. When nested back into the building, it opens up a 19,500-square-foot plaza for outdoor performances. No detail has been spared when it comes to creating a state-of-the-art performance space to meet The Shed’s mission of commissioning world premiere works in the performing arts, visual arts, and popular culture.
“We have built a home where established and emerging artists working in all disciplines can create new work in ways that we cannot even imagine,” says The Shed Artistic Director and CEO Alex Poots. “Beginning on April 5, 2019, The Shed’s community of neighbors, New Yorkers, and visitors from around the world will come together to experience the widest range of art forms in spaces that can accommodate artists’ most inventive and ambitious ideas.”
Two floors of expansive gallery spaces, the 500-seat Griffin Theater, and The McCourt (a multi-use hall) are the primary spaces for public programming. The McCourt is a centerpiece and will be used for large-scale performances, installations, and events for audiences ranging from 1,250 seated to more than 2,000 standing. The top floor houses rehearsal space, a lab for local artists, and an events space.
For the architects, The Shed’s ability to transform makes its future unpredictable, which is part of the excitement. “Eleven years in the making, The Shed is opening its doors to the public as a perpetual work-in-progress,” shares Elizabeth Diller of DS + R. “I see the building as an ‘architecture of infrastructure,’ all muscle, no fat, and responsive to the ever-changing needs of artists into a future we cannot predict. Success for me would mean that the building would stand up to challenges presented by artists, while challenging them back in a fruitful dialogue.”
The Shed opens to the public on April 5, 2019 with the world premiere of Soundtrack of America. The five-night concert series is directed by Steve McQueen with a creative team led by Quincy Jones and Maureen Mahon and celebrates the impact of African American music on popular culture. The event will also be live streamed on The Shed’s Facebook page.
In the upper galleries, an exciting collaboration between composer Steve Reich and artist Gerhard Richter makes its debut. Reich Richter Pärt is an immersive live performance installation that also includes a new moving picture work created by Richter and filmmaker Corinna Belz.
Read more about the exciting upcoming program on The Shed’s website, which includes everything from performances by Björk to an exhibition of work by emerging artists from New York.