Movable Steel and ETFE Facade for The Shed

Movable Steel and ETFE Facade for The Shed

New York’s 200,000-square-foot shape-shifting arts building, - The Shed- designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Rockwell Group, has enticed everyone with its steel Skelton and ETFE infill.

This beautiful cultural centre features a fixed base structure and a U-shaped, retractable roof that can be moved to form a performance area. A rack-and-pinion drive moves the shell, which weighs more than 4,000 tons, on two double-axle and four-single axle bogie wheels that each have a diameter of 6 feet.

Evening View of The Shed from the High Line

Evening View of The Shed from the High Line

The striking design and façade can be easily visible from the High Line that attract people who walk by it every day. In this Surfaces Reporter’s report, you will get in-depth info of this vast and versatile cultural complex. Have a look:

New York’s First Art Center

Evening View of the Shed from Hudson Yards  North Elevation

Evening View of the Shed from Hudson Yards  North Elevation

Set in on the northern edge of Chelsea in the New York City, forming a part of rapidly developing city’s major Hudson Yards, this megastructure is New York’s first arts centre dedicated to producing, commissioning, and presenting all types of visual arts, performing arts and popular culture. The vast and versatile complex hosts hundreds of thousands of local and global audiences for major arty events.

View from Level 4 to McCourt, Performance view of Soundtrack of America, Production View from Level 4 to McCourt, Performance view of Soundtrack of America, View from Level 4 to McCourt, Performance view of Soundtrack of America, Production Design by Adam Stockhausen and David 

An Attention-Grabbing Moving Roof:

This beautiful cultural centre features a fixed base structure and a U-shaped, retractable roof that can be moved to form a performance area. A rack-and-pinion drive moves the shell, which weighs more than 4,000 tons, on two double-axle and four-single axle bogie wheels that each have a diameter of 6 feet.

The telescopic roof virtually extends away from the main building to create a multi-use event space in an adjacent 20,000-square-foot plaza called The McCourt that sprawls 17,000 square feet.  

The McCourtThe McCourt

This sound, light and temperature-controlled space are used for large-scale events, installations and performances.

It can accommodate a seating audience of around 1,250 people and more than 2,000 standing folks. Moreover, the flexible overlap space in the two contiguous galleries of the base can house up to 3000 people. 

Moreover, there are large doors on its east and north sides allow the space to work as an open-air pavilion.

The Griffin Theater on Level 6. Stage set for Norma Jeane Baker of Troy, designed by Alex Eales.

The Griffin Theater on Level 6. Stage set for Norma Jeane Baker of Troy, designed by Alex Eales. | Photography by Timothy Schenck

A True Scene-Stealer Outer Shell

While the movable shell of the magnificent structure is made with an exposed steel diagrid frame, its exterior is cladded with translucent pillows of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), a sturdy and lightweight Teflon-based polymer.

Façade Detail ETFE and Operable Walls--View of The Shed, 15 Hudson Yards and The High Line

Façade Detail ETFE and Operable Walls--View of The Shed, 15 Hudson Yards and The High Line

The wonderful material has thermal properties of insulating glass, at a fraction of the weight, which allows the minimum sound transfer and maximum light to pass through it. To darken the interiors and reduce the sound, the McCourt is covered with radiant floors and black shades that can roll through the EFTE panels.

Installation view of Trisha Donnelly, Level 4 GalleryInstallation view of Trisha Donnelly, Level 4 Gallery

Enticing Entrance and Galleries

The main entrance for the building is on the north side of West 30th Street. It has a bookstore, lobby, and a restaurant called Cedric's. There is also a second entrance, which is located near to Hudson Yards' plaza and The Vessel.

View of The Shed from Hudson YardsView of The Shed from Hudson Yards

The column-free galleries feature glass curtain walls. And the floors and ceilings of the galleries are supported by thick wires. The glass operable walls in the upper portion can fold fully open to connect the McCourt.

Level 4 Viewing Gallery, View towards Hudson RailyardsLevel 4 Viewing Gallery, View towards Hudson Railyards

In the lower level gallery of The Shed, one of its opening commissions is Reich Richter Pärt. It also features a digitally animated mural by Gerhard Richter with composers Arvo Pärt with Steve Reich.

Reich Richter Pärt, immersive live performance installations exploring the shared language of visual art and music, premiered April 6, 2019, as an opening commission of The Shed in its Level 2 Gallery. Features music composed by Arvo Pärt, performed by Choir of Trinity Wall Street, directed by Julian WachnerReich Richter Pärt, immersive live performance installations exploring the shared language of visual art and music, premiered April 6, 2019, as an opening commission of The Shed in its Level 2 Gallery. Features music composed by Arvo Pärt, performed by Choir of Trinity Wall Street, directed by Julian Wachner. Images © Gerhard Richter 2018 (28112018).

Uniqueness in Simplicity 

Inspired by the long tradition of the English industrial shed, this distinctive structure has been designed by using simple components such as fittings are not chromed like in many advanced statements. These are intentionally calibrated simply to look workable and serviceable.

Reich Richter Pärt, immersive live performance installations exploring the shared language of visual art and music,

Reich Richter Pärt, immersive live performance installations exploring the shared language of visual art and music, premiered April 6, 2019, as an opening commission of The Shed in its Level 2 Gallery. Reich Richter features music composed by Steve Reich; moving picture, in collaboration with Corinna Belz, and images © Gerhard Richter 2019 (05042019). Ensemble Signal and conductor Brad Lubman perform Reich/Richter by Steve Reich.

Similarly, the neutral, charcoal-grey colours walls of the corridor seem standardized but are in reality fabricated with custom paving stones. The gallery walls are standard gypsum, supported by plywood and the floor is basic polished reinforced concrete.

The Griffin Theater on Level 6. Stage set for Norma Jeane Baker of Troy, designed by Alex Eales. The Griffin Theater on Level 6. Stage set for Norma Jeane Baker of Troy, designed by Alex Eales. | Photography by Timothy Schenck

An epitome of experimentation, creation and teamwork, The Shed is often labelled as ‘Swiss Army knife of Culture.’ It also marks the end of the stationary theatre spaces and its spatial elasticity seems to inspire several future projects.

DILLER SCOFIDIO + RENFRO is an interdisciplinary architecture and design firm in the USA that incorporates the visual arts, and the performing arts.

Images Courtesy: Diller Scofidio + Renfo in collaboration with Rockwell Group
Photography by Iwan Baan

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