The Shed, the new nonprofit cultural organization dedicated to commissioning, developing, and presenting original works of art, across all disciplines, for all audiences, will launch its opening season on April 5, 2019. The Shed is designed by Professor Elizabeth Diller's firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Lead Architect, and Rockwell Group, Collaborating Architect. New York City’s new arts center, designed for 21st-century artists and audiences, will present world premiere works in the performing arts, visual arts, and popular culture in its innovative, movable building when it opens its doors to the public on Manhattan’s west side.
“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,” said Alex Poots, Artistic Director and CEO of The Shed. “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.”
The Shed’s Bloomberg Building is an innovative 200,000-square-foot (18,500 m2) structure that can physically transform to support artists’ most ambitious ideas. The Shed’s eight-level base building includes two expansive, column-free galleries totaling 25,000 square feet (2,340 m2) of museum-quality space; a 500-seat theater that can be subdivided into more intimate spaces; and on the top floor, The Tisch Skylights for events and artist rehearsals, and The Tisch Lab for artist development. A movable outer shell can double the building’s footprint when deployed over the adjoining plaza to create The McCourt, a 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m²) light-, sound-, and temperature-controlled space for large-scale performances, installations, and events. Named in recognition of entrepreneur, philanthropist, and Shed board member Frank H. McCourt, Jr., and his family, The McCourt is The Shed’s most iconic space and can accommodate audiences ranging from 1,250 seated to over 2,000 standing. When the space is not needed, the movable shell can nest over the base building, opening The Plaza for outdoor use and programming.
The movable shell travels on a double-wheel track based on gantry crane technology commonly found in shipping ports and railway systems. A rack-and-pinion drive moves the shell forward and back on four single-axle and two double-axle bogie wheels that measure six feet in diameter; the deployment of the shell takes approximately five minutes. The exposed steel diagrid frame of the movable shell is clad in translucent pillows of durable and lightweight Teflon-based polymer, called ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE). With the thermal properties of insulating glass at a fraction of the weight, the translucent ETFE allows light to pass through and can withstand hurricane-force winds. Measuring almost 70 feet (21 meters) in length in some areas, The Shed’s ETFE panels are some of the largest ever produced.
Construction of The Shed is nearly complete. The final phase will include installation of metal cladding and related architectural finishes at the escalators and corridor areas; placement of polished concrete topping slabs on all base building floors; installation of paving stones that will form Lawrence Weiner’s site-specific artwork IN FRONT OF ITSELF in The Shed’s Plaza; installation of The McCourt’s theatrical shades; and completion of the building’s mechanical systems. The Shed is pursuing a LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, which is expected in early 2019.