Posted on January 27, 2010
Walking under an ugly piece of scaffolding, or “sidewalk shed,” is as much a part of many New Yorkers' days as the morning subway ride or the line at the bank. But now, in an effort to make those dark, creepy, ramshackle enclosures less, well, dark, creepy and ramshackle, a new design is set to be unveiled. The sheds are designed, ostensibly, to protect walkers from being hit by runaway debris while a building is being renovated or repaired. They’re found on both residential and commercial properties. An international design competition was held to determine a new design: The winner was Young-Hwan Choi, a first-year architecture student at the University of Pennsylvania. The design, entitled “Urban Umbrella,” will have customizable, transparent roofs. A UV-stabilized film could be used for the application of either different colors or a variety of art work; in other words, the roofs would become the basis for public art projects. Mayor Bloomberg issued a statement saying that although the city changes, the sheds themselves have not. (Wouldn’t faster, more efficient work also be a solution, to get rid of the sheds faster? But we digress.) A prototype should be up this summer. Supposedly more than 6000 sheds exist in New York City--this works out to more than one million linear feet. (You’re welcome for doing the math.) So keep your eyes open—but your head covered--when you approach a sidewalk shed in upcoming months.