Shape-Shifting Shed

June 23, 2021

CHALLENGE: The Shed, an extraordinary cultural space in Hudson Yards complex on the West Side of Manhattan, features a 37m telescopic shell that can extend out to create space for larger performances, as its outer shell can deploy from over the base building. The nature of the structure, however, posed a series of unusual challenges and requirements for the lighting, in terms of the translucency of the material, the mobility of the structure, in that the fixture had to withstand the outdoor environment, and the importance of sight lines and glare in a space that can be reconfigured in several ways. 

INFLUENCE: Described by its chief executive and artistic director Alex Poots as a new-model cultural institution, “a place for invention, for curiosity, for risk-taking,” the entertainment venue was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Rockwell Group. Clad in ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) cushions, it is an eight-level base building--with two large gallery spaces, a 500-seat theater, rehearsal space, an artists’ lab, and skylit event space. It along rails on to an adjoining plaza to double the building’s footprint. Ease of installation, operation and maintenance in such a large structure were also crucial considerations. 

SOLUTION: ERCO worked with the project’s lighting designer, Tillotson Design Assocs. to create a luminaire that could provide the right intensity and uniformity to illuminate the skin from either end of the section; specifically, a modification of the manufacturer’s Grasshopper projector. These 18W fittings—just under 750 in all—are mounted within all the corners of the beams in the moveable outer shell. All of them were customized with a remote driver box, necessitated by the location of the fixtures within the cramped corner spaces. The fixture heads had to be installed as close as possible to the mounting surface, so a special mounting bracket was created and the driver positioned remotely to reduce the space occupied by the fitting. A 5000K color temperature conveys a cool contemporary aesthetic.

Lighting the East Facade are round-shaped Kona 48W projectors, a total of 66, specified in the same 5000K temperature. The range also comprises projectors, floodlights and wallwashers, and was developed to deliver high luminous flux with maximum visual comfort. 

More information >

Project Specs: The Shed, Hudson Yards, New York // Architecture: Diller Scofidio + Renfro, New York (Lead Architect), Rockwell Group (Collaborating Architect) // Lighting Design: Tillotson Design Assocs. // Photography: Timothy Schenck // Lighting: ERCO Grasshopper, Kona.

Sponsored Recommendations