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Zaha Hadid Unveils a Swooping Canopy Over the High Line

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Whenever one of the millions of buildings under construction flanking the High Line hit a certain height, the developer is required to put up a shed over the park, for obvious, danger-of-heavy-things-falling-on-people's-heads reasons. These are always of the usual shed/scaffolding variety that you see everywhere... except, it seems, when it's for a building by Pritzker- and Stirling-Prize winning architect Zaha Hadid. Then it's not just a shed protecting passersby, it's a 112-foot long sculptural installation—in this case entitled Allongé—designed by Hadid to give a sneak preview of the swooping forms of her building, which has just hit High Line level and is scheduled for occupancy in 2016.

[Photo by Max Touhey.]

The protective construction shed—sorry, Allongé—was installed this week and is currently on view between 28th and 27th Streets, presumably until the building is completed. The aesthetic part of pedestrian tunnel is made of a heavy silvery fabric, stretched tight over a curving frame, and sitting under a solid black, more conventional-looking shed, which does the real work of stopping falling chunks of cement and rebar from smashing down on some poor party of tourists.

[Photo by Max Touhey.]

In a statement, Hadid said "I've always been fascinated by the High Line and its possibilities for the city. Decades ago, I used to visit the galleries in the area and consider how to build along the route. It's very exciting to be building there now."

[Photo by Max Touhey.]

Hadid's Allongé, which is "inspired by the connectivity and dynamism of movement along the High Line," is a nice idea—it would be wonderful if every shed in this city were designed by an artist, particularly one as talented as her—but the effort was mostly lost on the streams of High Line walkers passing underneath the piece on its opening day. In fact, the only person who seemed to notice the work at all was a High Line employee, who was pissed that the installation crew had trampled so many plants.

520 W 28th St

520 West 28th Street, Manhattan, NY 10001