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New York’s Newest Arts Center, The Shed, Employs GoGuide™ Solution In Safe Reopening Strategy

March 16, 2021
Matt Kmetz
Matthew Kmetz Senior Principal and Protective Design & Security Practice Leader
The GoGuide solution at The Shed supports safe reopening by enabling building-wide and space-by-space capacity monitoring. Thornton Tomasetti

The Shed, the flexible arts center at the intersection of Hudson Yards and Chelsea on Manhattan’s West Side, has implemented GoGuide™, a comprehensive technology solution for safe, secure visitor reentry, as part of its reopening strategy.

The Shed, which at full capacity can accommodate more than 2,000 people in its largest space, will be resuming live performances in April as New York State eases restrictions on the performing arts. It will be employing enhanced health and safety protocols, including GoGuide, for socially distanced audiences of up to 150 people seated.

“Using guidelines developed by the New York State Department of Health, we can begin bringing artists back to work and New Yorkers back to experience indoor events,” said Alex Poots, artistic director and CEO of The Shed. “We hope to provide the cultural industry with an incremental but critical step toward full reopening of the performing arts, health circumstances permitting.”

Developed by Thornton Tomasetti in partnership with PMY Group and Intel Corporation, GoGuide utilizes existing technology to enhance visitor safety and security. The Shed will be using GoGuide for capacity monitoring building-wide as well as for individual spaces.

“We are extremely pleased to enhance The Shed’s already industry-leading efforts to safely reopen and operate during the pandemic,” said Bill Edwards, Thornton Tomasetti associate principal of protective design & security services. “With the GoGuide solution, The Shed can integrate existing building systems with the new technology to provide every visitor with a safe and secure experience while enjoying any event.”

In addition to addressing the needs of cultural facilities like The Shed, GoGuide technology has been customized to meet the specific requirements of sports and event facilities, commercial buildings, and educational campuses as specified by Thornton Tomasetti’s Protective Design & Security team. GoGuide provides venues of all sizes with the ability to set and affirm safety standards for visitors and staff.

GoGuide easily integrates with a facility’s existing security systems. It employs reusable Bluetooth low energy (BLE) and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to support the ticketing process, and pairs with electronic ticketing apps to transmit personal device alerts and instructions. The BLE/RFID tags can be personalized for members, season ticket holders, staff, and visitors with disabilities. And they can be programmed – for durations as brief as a single sporting or cultural event or as long as a concert season or academic semester.

“Initially we will be using GoGuide to safely and effectively manage crowd density,” said Ezra Wiesner, The Shed’s chief technology officer. “However, the technology also has uses beyond pandemic response. An additional feature of GoGuide is the potential to apply radio-frequency ID (RFID) capabilities for real-time interaction with AI-based art exhibitions. The RFID tags are similar to those used by runners to track their time during races. In the context of an art exhibition, patrons could opt-in to carry an RFID-enabled ticket or device that allowed interactive exhibits based on the patron's location and possibly other data points to be incorporated into the experience. We're hoping artists see these possibilities and take advantage of these technologies in their work exhibited at The Shed.”

“This solution uses proven technology and is based on our years of experience developing security protocols for cultural centers, arenas, stadiums and public spaces around the world,” said Edwards. “It meets the duty of care responsibilities for the venue owner/operator, while also protecting the personal information of the visitor or patron.”

About Thornton Tomasetti

Thornton Tomasetti applies engineering and scientific principles to solve the world’s challenges – starting with yours. An independent organization of creative thinkers and innovative doers collaborating from offices worldwide, our mission is to bring our clients’ ideas to life and, in the process, lay the groundwork for a better, more resilient future. For more information visit or connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, InstagramFacebook, Vimeo or YouTube.

About The Shed

The Shed is a new cultural institution of and for the 21st century. We produce and welcome innovative art and ideas, across all forms of creativity, to build a shared understanding of our rapidly changing world and a more equitable society. In our highly adaptable building on Manhattan’s west side, The Shed brings together established and emerging artists to create new work in fields ranging from pop to classical music, painting to digital media, theater to literature, and sculpture to dance. We seek opportunities to collaborate with cultural peers and community organizations, work with like-minded partners, and provide unique spaces for private events. As an independent nonprofit that values invention, equity, and generosity, we are committed to advancing art forms, addressing the urgent issues of our time, and making our work impactful, sustainable, and relevant to the local community, the cultural sector, New York City, and beyond.


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