For over three years, New York City has anticipated the debut of Hudson Yard’s enigmatic “Shed”: the eight-level, 200,000-square-foot art center with a massive, telescoping outer shell. On April 5, the new center will finally open its doors, hosting a variety of exhibitions, lectures, and events related to the performing arts, visual arts, and pop culture. The innovative building was jointly designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell Group. Its sleek, flexible, and mobile layout was inspired by the industrial past of the High Line and West Side Rail Yard, and the building’s form is intended to physically transform depending on artists’ visions. Its blueprint includes two levels of gallery space, a multipurpose theater, a rehearsal space, a creative lab, and a 9,500-square-foot sky-lit space for large-scale events. Reminiscent of a train car, the building’s semi-transparent outer shell can glide along rails onto a neighboring plaza to nearly double the building’s footprint for grandiose concerts and performances. The massive light, sound, and temperature-controlled hall can be used as a blank slate to support artists' and performers’ most creative and ambitious ideas. “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 The Shed’s Artistic Director and CEO, Alex Poots. The venue will host an assortment of events ranging from comedy shows to concerts. The first year of programming will include lectures by filmmaker Boots Riley, a Björk concert directed by John Tiffany, and a Kung Fu musical featuring songs by Sia. The building will be named to “The Bloomberg Building” after a generous, $75 million donation from Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor who oversaw the dramatic gentrification of Manhattan’s Westside and Hudson Yards. With only three months until its launch, The Shed will go through the final phases of construction, which includes the installation of metal cladding and other architectural finishes. Correction: A previous version of this article said that The Shed's name will change, but only the building the institution is housed in will be known at The Bloomberg Building.
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MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) is currently scattered all over the school’s Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus, but not for much longer. The university announced on December 14 that it had tapped New York’s Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) to convert the historic Metropolitan Storage Warehouse into a central design hub. The idea of renovating the Metropolitan Warehouse, which was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1986, has been kicking around since June of this year. At the time, SA+P dean Hashim Sarkis expressed the desire to consolidate the physical design and research components of the school into one location. The proposed changes would preserve the warehouse’s distinctive red brick facade (likely because of its historical significance). DS+R will be partnering with Boston’s Leers Weinzapfel Associates, no strangers to academic work, to bring 200,000 square feet of classrooms, galleries, workshops, studio spaces, and an auditorium to the former warehouse. A makerspace, accessible to the entire campus, will also be installed under the administration of Project Manus, a group responsible for integrating and updating such spaces at the school. The selection of DS+R began with a long list of potential architects that was put forth by MIT’s Office of Campus Planning (OCP). Representatives from every department of SA+P, Project Manus, and OCP then whittled the list down to four finalists. The remaining studios were invited to give private presentations in October, and feedback on each was taken from SA+P students and faculty, as well as representatives from the city. “A project of this scale and complexity,” said Sarkis, “which demands a design sensibility informed by both art and technology—along with a deep understanding of architecture education as well as the role of public space—is made for a firm like DS+R.” No estimated completion date for the project has been given yet, nor has a budget estimate, though MIT says that the school is in productive talks with alumni about fundraising to pay for it.
Ahead of its spring 2019 opening, The Shed has selected 52 emerging artists in New York City for its inaugural Open Call program. The cultural organization announced the news on Monday, unveiling the chosen individual artists and collectives and how their work will be integrated into Open Call. “We launched Open Call with the intent of creating a meaningful opportunity for emerging artists to make new work,” said Tamara McCaw, chief civic program officer at The Shed. “A fundamental part of our mission is to engage our local communities and support New York City’s diverse talent.” Each artist, either local to New York or showing work in the city, will be allocated a stipend between $7,000 and $15,000 based on the scope of their proposed projects. The commissioned work will be displayed throughout The Shed’s principal performance venues, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell Group, during the 2019 spring–winter season. Theater and dance performances will be held inside the building’s black-box theater, while art, sculpture, and other mediums will be situated within the 12,5000-square-foot, column-free Gallery 1. Larger-scale performances, also including theater and dance, as well as bigger art pieces will be shown in the 17,000-square-foot indoor-outdoor plaza. Over 900 applications were submitted for Open Call over a three-month period starting last March. A panel of nearly 30 New York–based designers, filmmakers, academics, artists, and performers came together to review the proposals, including The Shed’s main staff. All exhibitions and programs on view during its first year will be free and open to the public. You can learn more about the artists and their planned work here.
As the sun sets each night over Manhattan’s High Line, the sounds of 1,000 opera singers waft through the streets of Chelsea, at least until October 8. The Mile-Long Opera: a biography of 7 o’clock, a co-production between Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang and Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), one part of the High Line's design team, sets human-scale stories against the elevated park’s environs. Poets Anne Carson and Claudia Rankine provided the text for each of the opera's 26 sections, which was distilled in part from interviews with New York City residents on what the twilight period means to them, and DS+R partner Elizabeth Diller directed the show’s staging. The opera, a 90-minute linear amble from the High Line's 14th Street entrance to its West 34th Street terminus, is in content, tone, and setting, about transition: the changing time of day, evolving domestic duties, and the shifting character of New York itself. Audience members are encouraged to walk slowly and weave their ways between the groups of singers, each belting out—or whispering, or chanting—their specific role on loop, unfolding the full experience for guests as they move forward. With each performer cloaked in white light from a luminescent hat, smartphone, backpack, or other piece of everyday wear, the experience can feel at times dreamlike. But the surrounding sounds of the city, walls of new development around the High Line, and Hudson Yards’ looming presence on 34th Street ground the performers in a material setting. Gentrification is not explicitly the Mile-Long Opera’s purview, but, as Diller recently relayed to the New York Times, the changes in the Meatpacking District (some caused by the High Line itself) are highlighted as wistful background threads. The mingling of old and new construction along the park with song lyrics about friends moving away, the L Train shutdown, and passing strangers on the street, are meant to make the audience consider change as a process and not simply get nostalgic for “the good old days.” DS+R and Diller’s involvement in the show’s staging (choreographer Lynsey Peisinger served as co-director) shines through, as both are intimately familiar with the challenges and opportunities of staging a show on the High Line. Marriage proposals waft up from beneath the elevated walkway and flyover, and for the spiraling spur at the park’s end, which butts up against the West Side Highway and an active heliport, performers are clad in reflective jumpsuits and have their voices amplified, one of the only times they compete with the noises of the city. This push and pull of the city, according to Diller in the playbill, makes New York both a backdrop and an antagonist as the audience travels the 30-block-long urban stage. Standby tickets to the Mile-Long Opera are free, but for those who can’t make it before the show closes, a 360-degree virtual reality version of the performance is being uploaded in parts online.
A Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed park in Moscow is getting a lot of attention this week after security cameras caught numerous people having sex within the 35-acre green space on Friday. Zaryadye Park, a massive landscape located across from the Kremlin along the Moskva River, opened last September to the public after a dedication ceremony from Russian President Vladimir Putin. DS+R’s $245 million design was selected out of 90 submissions in an international competition in 2013. In the project description, the architects describe the park as a place featuring “Wild Urbanism,” with intertwining sections of landscape and hardscape, natural and artificial. The parkland includes a mix of indoor and outdoor spaces with a 229-foot cantilevering river overlook, a media center, nature center, restaurant, market, two amphitheaters, and a philharmonic concert hall to come next spring. Charles Renfro, head architect on the project, said he’s thrilled at the park’s overwhelming popularity. “I love this!” he told Artnet in an email. “What freedom our park has brought to Moscow and what tolerance it seems to be engendering from the authorities.” The Moscow Times reported that the city’s chief architect, Sergei Kuznetsov, is apparently okay with the sexual escapades happening within the public park and attributes the unprecedented uptick to the safety and comfort that Moscow offers visitors and residents. Some local lawmakers, however, feel the opposite. Getting caught for having sex in public in Russia means up to 15 days in jail. DS+R’s 14,000-square-meter vision takes up a quarter of downtown Moscow and is the first large-scale park built in the city in 50 years. The site was formerly populated by a Jewish enclave in the 1800s, and once served as the foundations of a never-built Stalinist skyscraper. For nearly 40 years, it was the home of the largest hotel in Europe, the 21-story Hotel Rossiya, until it closed in 2006.
University College Dublin (UCD) revealed the latest design proposals from the six shortlisted teams for Future Campus—University College Dublin International Design Competition. Six teams were chosen from the 98 firms that submitted proposals earlier this year, and the latest renderings reveal competing visions for the university's future. Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York) John Ronan Architects (Chicago) O’Donnell + Tuomey (Dublin) Steven Holl Architects (New York) Studio Libeskind (New York) UNStudio (Amsterdam) The design competition consists of two design initiatives—one is a sixty-acre Entrance Precinct master plan and another is the Centre for Creative Design, a new building to house a maker space and a “living learning lab.” UCD, Ireland’s "Global University", is one of Ireland’s largest universities with more than 30,000 students. The university moved to its current 330-acre Belfield campus in 1963, which was masterplanned by Polish architect Andrzej Wejchert through another competition. The current campus consists of a collection of estates, including period houses and four- to five-story Brutalist structures within a landscaped setting. The master plan is envisioned to be “a highly-visible and welcoming entrance precinct” to introduce placemaking and establish an identity for the university. The new masterplan will house the 90,000 square foot Centre for Creative Design, which is meant to be an emblem of UCD’s creative identity. Another aspect of the masterplan is to increase the permeability of the campus boundary, potentially by introducing a new vehicular entrance and working with planned public transportation connections and other transport modes. “We are seeking an integrated design proposal that improves the experience of our campus for its users and that better connects us to our surroundings, orientating us outwards to the world and inviting our communities to engage with us,” said Professor Hugh Campell, professor of architecture at UCD and member of the competition jury. The university is now seeking comments on the design proposals from the UCD community, whose feedback will be fed to the jury. The winner will be announced in August 2018.
The first-ever “Hat Party on the High Line” event drew a rowdy crowd of art, culture, fashion, and architecture aficionados to the elevated park last night courtesy of the Friends of the High Line, with proceeds going to support the park’s continued operation and atmosphere of inclusivity. The night was sponsored by a huge host committee made up of some of architecture’s biggest names (including Diller Scofidio + Renfro, BIG, James Corner Field Operations, Zaha Hadid Architects, Rafael Viñoly Architects, and more) and hosted by Diane von Furstenberg. Perhaps the biggest draw was the 9:00 PM hat contest, where guests strutted their stuff on a runway in front of judges Alan Cumming, Aki Sasamoto, Florent Morellet, Charles Renfro, NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, and Vi Vacious and Acid Betty from RuPaul's Drag Race. Partygoers rose to the challenge and presented their wildest hats, most of them inspired by the plant life and views of the High Line, to raucous applause. While BIG debuted a twisting-tower hat reminiscent of their High Line-topping XI, Zaha Hadid Architects 3D printed a swooping blue and white hat reminiscent of the curves found at 520 West 28th, and other studios including SOM and DS+R all competed to take home the crown. Ultimately the night was won by Vinayak Portonovo of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU), seen modeling the studio’s contribution; a glitzy take on PAU’s plan for the new Penn Station.
Only three weeks after a star-studded shortlist of architects for the Adelaide Contemporary International Design Competition was revealed, arts organization Arts South Australia and competition organizers Malcolm Reading Consultants have chosen the Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) and Woods Bagot team. The winning plan for the new art gallery and accompanying sculpture park will create a new cultural anchor for the state of South Australia. In their winning scheme, DS+R and Australian firm Woods Bagot have envisioned a dramatically inclined art space for Adelaide’s North Terrace. The arts center will rise on the site of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital, and in the brief, teams were asked to design dynamic, but people-friendly, spaces. The team has designed what they call a “charismatic soft beacon” meant to reflect the sky during the day, and glow from the gallery spaces at night, creating an open and inviting atmosphere. The Adelaide Contemporary will include a sunken performance lab with multiple tiers, a “Super Lobby”, floating top-floor galleries, and a rooftop garden that will hang down into the upper levels’ gallery space. The entire building is a mixture of purpose-driven spaces with unique massings and heights, with programming inherently baked into each room’s layout, but its most unique feature is how most of the building will cantilever over the outdoor gallery spaces and public square. By virtue of the competition guidelines, all of the submitted proposals drew from vernacular Aboriginal art and culture, as well as the history and traditions of Adelaide. “The design foregrounds South Australia’s exceptional collections and capitalises on the momentum of the Art Gallery of South Australia’s recent successes in celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture,” said Michael Lynch, chair of the jury and the Art Gallery of South Australia Board’s Special Advisor. “The jury was impressed by the winning team’s assured understanding of the future of art, performance and 21st-century programming, as well as its flair for placemaking.” DS+R and Woods Bagot beat out 107 teams from around the world (from over 500 individual firms), including proposals from studios like David Chipperfield, BIG, Adjaye Associates, and SO-IL. A full list of the received proposals, and views of their submissions, can be viewed here. The full biographies for all nine jury members can be viewed here. No cost estimate or completion date for the project has been released at the time of writing.
Sited in the former London Olympic park, Diller Scofidio + Renfro have won a competition to build a £25 million ($33.7 million) collection and research center for the Victoria and Albert Museum, part of a broader expansion of the museum into East London. The center will feature facilities for research and education and is to be built in the former Olympic Media Center, which is being redesigned and rebranded as Here East. The V&A’s new outpost is part of what is being called the Olympicopolis arts district, a burgeoning waterfront development at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Apart from the V&A, as well as expected office and retail space, the Olympicopolis will be home to new expansions from Sadler’s Wells Theatre, the London College of Fashion, and the University College of London. The project is in part being led by the London Legacy Development Corporation, a city organization focused on adapting the structures from the 2012 London Olympics for continued use. The V&A was forced to create an additional space for their V&A East outpost after height restrictions required that the museum downsize its plans for their central building. The new locations will allow the V&A to display even more of their collection to the public and facilitate more research. The plan for the collection center came on the heels of the 2015 announcement by the government that they would sell the Blythe House, which currently serves as storage and archive for some of the V&A’s immense collection. DS+R, which won the competition ahead of four other shortlisted teams, will be working with British firm Austin-Smith:Lord and Studio Adrien Gardère to realize the center. In a press release, DS+R says that the space will be designed “from the inside out” and will be like an “immersive cabinet of curiosities.” No designs have yet been released to the public. In addition to the V&A collections center, DS+R also has a major concert hall, The London Center for Music, underway in London.
One thousand opera singers will grace Manhattan's High Line from October 3 through 7, staging a massive public performance for five consecutive nights. The Mile-Long Opera: a biography of 7 o’clock, produced by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), the High Line, and production company The OFFICE performing arts + film, will present a thousand sung stories about what 7:00 PM means to New York residents. The Mile-Long Opera has a star-studded production team: The show is a joint venture between DS+R and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang, who will be setting the stories to music. Poets Anne Carson and Claudia Rankine will be writing the stories, based on interviews, about the liminal period between day and night. DS+R partner Elizabeth Diller will be staging the show, with the help of co-director Lynsey Peisinger, along the entire length of the High Line. Nonprofit cultural partners from each borough will be supplying the show’s singers, who will be directed by Donald Nally, and each partner will recruit volunteers, hold workshops, and throw cultural events in the lead-up to the October performance. Diller’s involvement has been known for some time now, and the idea supposedly took inspiration from the intersection and confrontation between public space and performance art. “After working on the design of the High Line for over a decade and witnessing the rapid transformation of the surrounding area, I thought a lot about the life cycle of the city—its decay and rebirth—full of opportunities and contradictions,” said Diller in a statement. “This vantage presented an opportunity for creative reflection about the speed of change of the contemporary city and the stories of its inhabitants. “The park will be a 30-block-long urban stage for an immersive performance in which the audience will be mobile, the performers will be distributed, and the city will be both protagonist and backdrop for a collective experience celebrating our diversity.” The Mile-Long Opera will be free, in keeping with the mission to open up opera to the public. Visitors can freely wander the length of the High Line while intermingling between the groups of singers, and each artist will belt out their own solo story. Guests can choose to linger and listen through to individual stories or explore as many experiences as they want. The High Line will close early to the general public on the nights of the show, and only those who have booked an advance reservation online (here) will be able to attend. With anticipation building for the 2019 opening of The Shed on the park’s northern end, it looks like DS+R will keep the cultural momentum going through the fall.
In the run-up to the opening of The Shed, Diller Scofidio + Renfro and the Rockwell Group’s new arts center in the Hudson Yards development, a 2-week program called A Prelude to The Shed, featuring free performances, talks and events, took place in a temporary structure designed by Kunlé Adeyemi of NLÉ Works. A Stroll Through the Fun Palace, British architect Cedric Price’s 1961 project, developed with theater director Joan Littlewood, was presented in dynamic form by architects wheeling models and items from the project archives at the Canadian Centre for Architecture on carts throughout the site, and interacting with curious visitors. A Stroll was originally presented at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale at the Swiss Pavilion, where it was curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, who is also Senior Program Advisor at The Shed. On May 1, the evening panel discussion centered on Price’s Fun Palace and its impact on The Shed. Obrist and Prelude co-programmer Dorothea von Hantelmann set the stage by explaining why they included this work in the roster, and how its presentation explores the exhibition form itself. They correlated the Fun Palace’s interdisciplinary nature—opera, visual art, theater, dance—with Artistic Director Alex Poots’s background at the Manchester International Festival, the Park Avenue Armory and now The Shed. They were followed by Eleanor Bron, Cedric Price’s concubine (her preferred term for life partner), an actor best known for film roles in Help!, Alfie, Two for the Road, Bedazzled, and Women in Love, and Samantha Hardingham, interim director of the AA and author of Cedric Price Works, 1952–2003: A Forward-Minded Retrospective. They described the challenge for the self-described “anti-architect" to create a home for as many forms of fun in one spot as possible, and to open up science and culture to all. The Fun Palace, intended for the Olympics site in East London, was conceived as a permeable, moveable, gravity-defying open space without beginning or end, in contrast to the prevalent earthbound style of the times in Britain, Brutalism. It counted among is trustees Buckminster Fuller and violinist Yehudi Menuhin, and it nearly happened except for a drainage problem on the site. In another connection to The Shed, in 1999, Price submitted a proposal for Phyllis Lambert’s Hudson Yards competition, the current site of The Shed. Titled A Lung for Midtown Manhattan, Price was one of five finalists, who also included Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos, Morphosis, Reiser + Umemoto, and winner Peter Eisenman. The jury consisted of Frank Gehry, Arata Isozaki, Philip Johnson, Rafael Moneo, Joseph Rose (City Planning Commissioner), and Elizabeth Diller. Notably, Diller voted for Price’s entry, which proposed leaving the space open with “wind-blinkers” to encourage breezes from the river to waft over Manhattan. Diller recounted the competition in the next panel, which also included David Rockwell and Kunlé Adeyemi. Diller and Rockwell discussed their approach to the design of The Shed: to be forever contemporary, flexible but not generic, scalable, indoor and outdoor, unbranded and entrepreneurial. They said their key architecture reference was the Fun Palace, which was an architecture of infrastructure. They also questioned why we need one more cultural institution, since New York City already boasts 12,000. Referring to the moveable portion of The Shed, Rockwell pointed out that many theaters are meant to be flexible (think Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall), which are rarely utilized because it’s too difficult or expensive. For him, another lesson was from his TED Theater in Vancouver, an annual pop-up meant to be “live.” Here, the architecture does not dictate what happens inside. The evening was rounded out with Keller Easterling, an architect and Yale professor, who spoke on notions of theater in architectural spaces (in addition to being an architect, she has a background as a performance artist) and Caroline A. Jones, a professor at MIT Architecture, who found parallels in electronic technological modes of production in the art world. They commented that presenters on stage facing the audience was the antithesis of the future Shed.
On May 11, Arts South Australia’s design jury revealed the design proposals from the six shortlisted teams selected in the Adelaide Contemporary International Design Competition, a planned art gallery and sculpture park in Adelaide, Australia. The 160,000 square-foot Adelaide Contemporary will house a significant portion of the Art Gallery of South Australia’s 42,000 piece collection, which currently only has a fraction on display due to a lack of space. The museum will draw upon its substantial Aboriginal collection to create the Gallery of Time, which will combine indigenous pieces with European and Asian works. This shortlist's designs follow. Adjaye Associates & BVN’s design draws upon Aboriginal vernacular architecture through the use of a surrounding canopy, providing shade in one of the more arid corners of the country. With the canopy screening significant portions of the four elevations, the design will largely use skylights and balconies to filter natural light into the central atrium and stairwell. With a twisting, serpentine layout, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) & JPE’s proposal is inspired by Aboriginal sand painting, which often embeds abstract natural elements within a landscape. Through the use of rooftop landscaping, the team hopes to integrate their design with the adjacent Botanic Garden. David Chipperfield and SJB Architects’ is the only timber structure proposal. The principal elevations are composed of wooden screens, and the structure is topped by sloped roofs. In a statement, Diller Scofidio+Renfro & Woods Bagot describe their proposal as a “matrix of unique spaces unbound by disciplinary categories range in size, height, infrastructure, and light quality.” The bulk of exhibition space is located on the second story, which is cantilevered over an outdoor gallery and public square. Hassell & SO-IL incorporate a central plaza into their design proposal, which the team describes as an attempt to bring “nature, art, and people together.” The central plaza serves as a circulation node and public square connecting the gallery’s semi-independent spaces, which are further laced together by a draped, metal brise-soleil. Khai Liew, Ryue Nishizawa & Durbach Block Jaggers proposal consists of a sweeping, perforated canopy supported by a series of pilotis. Beneath the canopy, the site is split roughly evenly between park and curatorial space, the latter presenting sweeping views of the adjacent Botanic Garden. Arts South Australia’s design jury will meet again in May, with a winner expected to be announced in June.