City’s New ‘Umbrella’ Sidewalk Scaffold Design Revealed

MANHATTAN — The ubiquitous sidewalk scaffolds across Manhattan could get a facelift now that the city has chosen a new design following an international competition.

Young-Hwan Choi, a 28-year-old student from the University of Pennsylvania, won out over 164 designs with his “Urban Umbrella” construction shed concept. In addition to giving Choi a $10,000 prize, the city will encourage developers to use his scaffold design.

“Sidewalk sheds are a part of New York life, reflecting the face of a city that is constantly changing – yet the sheds themselves haven’t evolved at all during the past four decades,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement. “The new structures will complement the city’s architectural beauty rather than take it away from it, while increasing space and safety for pedestrians and reducing the impact of construction on businesses and building owners.”

The “Umbrella” design will allow more light to reach city sidewalks while being less obstructive of the signs of local businesses, the city said. It will also make sidewalks more safe by eliminating the cross bracing pieces and bolts to allow for more foot traffic flow.

The urbanSHED contest was sponsored by the Department of Buildings, the American Institute of Architects, the Alliance for Downtown New York and several others. The Alliance for Downtown New York will fund and build a full-scale prototype of the Urban Umbrella for a job site in lower Manhattan, the city said.

“Sidewalk sheds, while necessary, hide the architectural features that make our streets so attractive and take away from what makes our neighborhoods and business corridors vibrant,” Transportation Commissioner Jeanette Sadik-Khan said in a statement. “This design invites New Yorkers’ eyes back up from the sidewalk and lets them reclaim their streets even before construction is complete.”

Can’t wait to see these in use!

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