New York’s ‘The Shed’ is a Marvel of Architectural Design

Architects/Glaziers/General Contractors

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The Shed is a new event space in New York that features a telescoping translucent facade and is considered to be a breakthrough in architectural design. While The Shed  may have a humble name, it is in fact a modern marvel of architectural design. Set to open in 2019, The Shed will be the first multi-arts center designed to commission, produce, and present all types of performing arts, visual arts, and popular culture.

Designed by Diller Scofido + Renfro, in collaboration with Rockwell Group, the building is located in New York’s Hudson Yards development. The venue’s flexibility allows artists to flourish in their own space.

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The multi-functional 200,000 square foot space has eight levels and a movable outer shell that encloses an adjoining 20,000 square foot plaza. The telescoping outer shell creates a light, sound, and temperature-controlled expanded space that can accommodate up to 3,000 people. When closed, the remaining plaza is an outdoor gathering space.

The Shed features 25,000 square feet of museum-quality space, a flexible 500-seat black-box theater which can be divided for more intimate seating, event and rehearsal space, as well as a creative lab open free to local artists.

Telescoping Translucent Facade is an Architectural Engineering Feat

What appears to be a full translucent glass façade is actually a material called ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE). This lightweight, durable material bubbles out from the exposed steel frame. It features the thermal properties of insulated glass, made by sealing two panes of glass around all of the edges with a pocket of air in the middle, but is significantly lighter. It also maintains maximum visual light transmittance and can withstand hurricane-force winds.

Construction began on the building in 2015 and it will open in 2019. However, the steel frame construction of the outer shell is complete and took its first test run in May 2017. It weighs more than eight million pounds and moves along a double-wheel track. Each wheel measures six feet in diameter! The outer shell moves a total distance of 115 feet when fully opening or closing and takes approximately fives to move from nested to deployed, and vice versa.

New York made the news earlier this year for an architecture firm’s inventive method of achieving the world’s tallest building. Read more about “Big Bend” and its quest to surpass Burj Khalifa for the world record.
Photo by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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