Located at Hudson Yards in New York, very close to Thomas Heatherwick’s The Vessel (see Arquitectura Viva 213), rises The Shed, another major hybrid of architecture and sculpture, this time by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. While the theme of the ludic monument by the British designer Heatherwick is civic participation, materialized in an endless staircase, what the New York studio’s construction evokes is Cedric Price’s Fun Palace, so its main point is flexibility, and its poetic expression, the machine.
Indeed, more than an urban sculpture, The Shed is an enormous mechanism devoted to cultural programs and the visual arts. It is capable of accommodating a wide range of artistic performances and events through its versatile design. Its most striking feature is the vast ‘telescoping’ roof that, sliding on rails, can be extended out over the adjoining plaza, going as far as doubling the size of the art space and allowing a far larger audience.
Inspiration for the movement of the roof – a shell made with an exposed steel diagrid frame, covered with translucent ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (EFTE) panels – came from cranes or derricks common in the railway sector, with six bogies composed of two or three steel wheels, that move in a system of 5-horsepower engines at the astonishing speed of 0.4 kilometers per hour. A grand tribute to Futurism.