A temporary steel tent situated on West 31st Street and 10th Avenue will imminently encompass a two-week free exhibition dubbed “Prelude To The Shed,” a preview for the kinds of programs that will soon be performed and showcased at The Shed. Designed by Kunle Adeyemi, with collaboration by artists including Tino Sehgal, William Forsythe, Reggie ‘Regg Roc’ Gray, ABRA, Arca, and Asad Raza, the space emphasizes visual dialogue and an integration of multiple practices within the arts.
The structure uses a series of movable partitions that serve dual functions as seating for attendees, and as separators for the space during live performances, dance numbers, and singing, which take place inside a nearly pitch-black environment.
A series of digital drawing scans by the late British Architect Cedric Price (1934-2003) are also on display outside, which include a large-scale model of one of his unrealized projects called “Fun Palace.” Conceived in the mid-1960s’s and proposed to be built in London but never realized, the project would have been composed of an open-air multi-functional venue using latticed steel columns and trusses that could support and incorporate a theater, an auditorium, a museum, and large open public spaces without walls, windows, or a roof. Price wanted programs and critical structural elements to be the only focal points, similar to the Jacob K. Javits Center.
In the end, the architectural inspiration of Price’s design was an opposition to the idea of creating a monumental and permanent building, and to have the space instead last for at most twenty years (or about one generation), because he believed that buildings should be ethereal and relate only to the world at their moment in time.
This unrealized vision did however play a crucial role in the inspiration for the concept and completion of Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano’s Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in 1977. Both the Palace and the Pompidou similarly resemble ideas of Metabolist architcture which evolved in the 1960s, and how buildings can closely relate to the needs to adapt and change with the world, just like the biological nature and role of human beings.
Another unrealized project that was showcased was “A Lung For Midtown Manhattan,” which was a rejected proposal for a competition sponsored by the Canadian Center of Architecture in 1999. It called for the use of ventilation to suck in air from the Hudson River and release it into the city.
In an almost literal sense, the non-temporary Shed at the base of 15 Hudson Yards will be as adaptable and flexible as the people who will soon enter its interiors and the surrounding public space. Whether it’s seen as an art gallery, a theater, a rendez-vous point for tourists, or an architectural icon for the ages, its concept inhibits the need to evolve and change through time. The same can be said for cities and their need to adapt in order to survive.
Currently, The Shed is set to open in the spring of 2019, while the public plaza housing the Vessel and the surrounding landscape are set for completion around the same time.
“Prelude To The Shed” will be open every day from May 1 through May 13 from 11:30AM to 9:00PM.