The concept behind the Culture Shed arose from the understanding that so many of New York’s cultural groups did not have the real estate to house large audiences, nor have the means to expand any exiting venues. Consequently, the city is prone to missing out on travelling shows due to lack of available exhibition space. To remedy this, the Culture Shed will be a Kunsthalle, a cultural venue without permanent exhibits. Instead, it will provide a home for temporary shows, fairs and concerts, such as New York’s annual Fashion Week, which currently takes place in pop-up tents.

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Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell

Planned to be constructed at the foot of a residential skyscraper also designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell Group, the new venue will proved three flexible galleries crowned by an open rooftop area equipped with a café and additional exhibition space. What really sets this project apart however, is the lofty 140-foot retractable canopy that straddles it. If needed, this glass giant can trundle out on tracks and enclose a portion of the plaza in front of the building, creating a temporary hall that could play host to food-fairs, concerts and various other public events. When not required, the canopy politely tucks itself back over the building and returns the plaza to the public. A cultural center was first suggested for the Hudson Yard Development, when the project was approved in 2004. The original proposal was for a considerably smaller 100,000 square foot complex surrounded by public space.

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Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell

Although enthusiastic, the City of New York is making sure that the exact details are kept closely guarded while information about the project is being released gradually. On the 5th of February, the City Planning Commission sent the plans of the Culture Shed to the local community board to start the review process, which may take several months.

With a hopeful date of 2017 set for completion, the fate of the project is tethered closely to fundraising efforts and the success of the Hudson Yard Development Project. If successful, developers hope the Culture Shed will give Hudson Yard the cultural kudos needed to be a legitimate player in New York.

Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell

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