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Architecture Monday

August 22, 2016

This is not your ordinary multi-use cultural centre.  Part of it is.  Part of it moves.

And that moving portion is intriguing.

The video shows it all.  Intended to be a flexible exhbition/gallery/show/theatre space, with no permanent exhibits, the way the various levels can be opened, or closed, to the retractable canopy opens up a lot of options and potential.  That the canopy itself, when extended, can be opened or closed to the plaza next to it increases that flexibility even more.  There’s something fun to think about how, every time you visit the building, it could look different, you could move through the space differently, and there could be totally different things going on.

It is a bit gimmicky, which can be tricky to pull off.  It’s not the first highly reconfigurable space I’ve been intrigued with.  Unlike the Wyly Theatre in Dallas, however, I’m less certain about how well the SHED will perform.  Being at the end of the High Line is a great spot, and being smack in the middle of the largest redevelopment in North America  will help it not be isolated and empty.  I’m wondering how well and how often that movable shed will function, and what it will be like inside, not only in terms of the quality of space, but also that the floor spends some of its time outside, and all the grime and wear and tear that can entail.

But it will be used for something I’m sure.  Whether it’s as grand a vision as that video purports, with lectures or theatre plays, is to be seen.  Even as, say, a concert venue, or an indoor/outdoor reception area for a gallery opening, or trade fairs, or fundraising events, the extended shed ought to work out well enough, with enough events and content to keep it from falling into pure gimmick territory.

It’s due to open in 2019, so, my intrigue will have to remain intrigued for a few more years before I can see it in action.

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