AAJ Press
Architecture & Design, Art & Public Space, Competitions, Environment, Installation, Urban Design

Urban Umbrella: Winner – urbanSHED International Design Competiton, New York

Lower Manhattan is no stranger to finding creative ways to recast city-centre construction sites with projects such as Re:Construction, an initiative remodelling building sites as canvasses for innovative public art and architecture.

Urban Umbrella, was the winning design from the urbanSHED International Design Competition, held to create a new design for sidewalk sheds. The Urban Umbrella was constructed to incorporate new safety and aesthetic features that vastly improve the pedestrian experience with the major benefit of replacing scaffolding with an alternative elegant streetscape. There are approximately 6,000 sidewalk sheds in New York city, required during construction of new buildings 40 feet or higher and the demolition of buildings 25 feet or higher. These are temporary structures built to protect pedestrians during construction – which had not been updated in more than 60 years in New York City.

The new prototype structure, primarily comprised of recycled steel, translucent plastic panels and LED lighting, was developed by Young-Hwan Choi, who created the initial design, and  from the New York-based design firm Agencie Group, who oversaw the creation and installation of the structure. The competition’s winning design was selected from 164 designs submitted by architects, engineers, designers and students from 28 countries around the world.

“The challenge was to synthesize an elegant architectural vision with powerful structural performance, while one bay of the Urban Umbrella is the size of a bus shelter, it possesses the strength of a highway bridge.”  Sarrah Khan.

Supported by the Alliance for Downtown New York and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City through a grant from REBNY. Urban Umbrella was unveiled at 100 Broadway, a 24-storey building in Lower Manhattan which is owned and operated by Madison Capital. The winning design was selected by a jury comprised of City Planning Commissioner Amanda M. Burden, FAICP; David M. Childs, FAIA, of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill; Craig Dykers of Snøhetta; Buildings Commissioner LiMandri; Jean Oei of Morphosis; Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan; Craig Michael Schwitter, P.E., of Buro Happold North America; Frank Sciame, CEO of F.J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc., and Ada Tolla of LOT-EK. Susanna Sirefman of Dovetail Design Strategists was the competition advisor overseeing the development and management of the competition.



About jeh

Jeremy Hunt is Director of the AAJ Press (Art & Architecture Journal / Press) – a writer and consultant on art and public space


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