The Shed is a 225,000 square foot multi-functional art and performance space in the revitalized Hudson Yards neighborhood on Manhattan’s West Side. The unique project was designed to transform from an intimate venue to one with stadium seating, offering interior and exterior options under extremely varied operational hours.


Like other high-end, high-profile urban hospitality venues, approval of food and beverage licensing from the local community board was critical to the facility’s operations and financial success. Approvals hinged upon the planning team’s transportation access and operations study to demonstrate appropriate traffic management and operational safety measures were considered in future operations.


The myriad potential configurations of the Shed required a particularly unique utilization study. Our methodology first defined the land use and transportation context. Analysis of architecture and operations encompassed unique spatial programming capabilities, regular and special event programming alternatives, hours of operation, circulation, and access. A patron demand profile was developed for each of the basic spaces to determine capacity, daily space demand, mode of arrival profile, and peak hour demand and mode split. With this profile, the planning team broke the functions into digestible and simplified operational scenarios. Through these scenarios, the traffic operational demands of the Shed were evaluated in relation to the area traffic and larger transportation system context.


The comprehensive study was unanimously approved by the community board, clearing a path for the Shed’s successful opening. GZA’s planners effectively demonstrated that the venue’s many (often simultaneous) programmatic possibilities had been considered—mass scale events with long hours, daily peak traffic generated by pedestrians, patron drop offs and Hudson Yards office workers, entertainment events—and mitigation scenarios had been implemented. GZA is the most active and trusted advisor in New York City for New York State Liquor Authority approvals, having completed many similar studies.