Sidewalk construction sheds, no matter how necessary, are complete eyesores that weave across nearly 200 miles of New York City streets. But the steel and plywood monstrosities will soon be replaced with a safer, more aesthetically-pleasing structure. In early December, the first Urban Umbrella construction shed will be installed at 100 Broadway. A product of the Department of Buildings‘ UrbanSHED competition hosted in order to create a more beautiful construction shed, Urban Umbrella is a modular canopy made of recycled steel and polycarbonate that is not only more physically appealing, but also safer than the shabby sheds we have now.
Designed by Young-Hwan Choi, Andres Cortes and Sarrah Khan of Agencie Group, the main structure of the graceful new design, which looks like an open umbrella, is made with recycled steel, and the top is covered in translucent, high-density plastic sheets. The incredibly strong material, which is fireproof and can withstand 300 pounds per square foot (which is like dropping a brick from 300 feet high), will also allow daylight to flow through to the sidewalk, a welcomed change from the dimly lit current sheds.
The first prototype will be installed at 100 Broadway, a 24-storey office building, sometime in the next few weeks. Because the building is more than six stories tall, it will use the Urban Umbrella designed for heavy construction. The Urban Umbrella sheds are not mandatory, but they cost about the same as the current sheds. The DOB Commissioner is confident that many buildings and construction crews will welcome the new look.