Sunday, January 24, 2010

New York to Replace Construction Scaffolding with New Design

The "temporary" scaffolding put up over sidewalks during construction projects are call "sidewalk sheds". Sidewalk sheds are installed to protect pedestrians from construction or building maintenance work. They are usually ugly (left) and not so temporary. There are approximately 6,000 sidewalk sheds in New York City, representing more than 1 million linear feet.

New York City had a design contest to see if something could be done about the aesthetic and functional aspects of these sheds that seem to be everywhere and often stay up for a year or more. An international competition – the “urbanSHED International Design Competition” – was held to challenge the design community to create a new standard of sidewalk shed.

Mayor Bloomberg just announced the winning selection. The competition winner, “Urban Umbrella,” (right) was developed by Young-Hwan Choi, a 28-year-old student from the University of Pennsylvania. The winning design was selected from 164 designs submitted by architects, engineers, designers and students from 28 countries around the world.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Department of Buildings Commissioner Robert D. LiMandri and President of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects Anthony Schirripa, AIA, unveiled a new design for sidewalk sheds – the wood and steel structures built to protect pedestrians walking alongside buildings under construction.

The design of the City’s sidewalk sheds has remained primarily unchanged since the 1950s and the new design will improve quality of life, reduce construction impacts on businesses, increase pedestrian safety and increase available space for pedestrians on sidewalks.

The “Urban Umbrella” design will:
􀂃 Improve neighborhood quality of life with improved aesthetics and more air and natural light reaching the sidewalk;
􀂃 Reduce construction impacts on businesses and building owners through a less obstructive design that allow more of the building to be seen;
􀂃 Increase safety through a modern design that eliminates cross-bracing and exposed bolts; and
􀂃 Reduce the amount of obstructions on sidewalks, increasing space on the sidewalk to allow for more pedestrian traffic.

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