Culture Shed: A Kinetic Evolution

architectural office Diller Scofidio + Renfro
project The Shed, Manhattan, New York, USA
written by Ivan Rupnik

In the late aughts, the future site of the Culture Shed, which also includes the massive Hudson Yards development and terminus of the High Line, was rezoned by the city of New York from a rail yard to the temporary site of the 2012 Olympics, ultimately to be developed as a mixed-use development of condominiums, offices and retail. The new zoning also stipulated the inclusion of a non-profit cultural centre. When the 2012 Olympics ultimately went to London, Mayor Michael Bloomberg personally intervened in the process, organizing a request for proposals (RFP) in order to give some form to the future centre. That RFP was won by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DSR), one of the designers of the adjacent High Line, in collaboration with the Rockwell Group. As Liz Diller would later explain, the initial proposal focused on the issue that New York doesn’t have a place where all the arts can come together under one roof and that one of the big problems with architecture is that it is geo-fixed, anchored to the ground. The initial scheme sought to engage these two issues through an exploration of kinetic architecture.