Another successful NYC design competition! New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced that Young-Hwan Choi’s “Urban Umbrella” design won the urbanSHED design contest to re-think sidewalk sheds in New York City. Sidewalk shed design has been stagnant for 50 years and they are in sore need of a makeover. Meant to protect pedestrians from construction, the current sidewalk sheds are a jumble of plywood, beams and protruding bolts. Mr. Choi melded beautiful form with perfect function to create a new design worthy of the buildings and people it will protect.

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In his announcement on Thursday Mayor Bloomberg noted that, “this new design is great for building owners because less of your building will be hidden, and it’s great for pedestrians because there’s more space to walk, run or shop than ever before.” Currently there are more than 1 million feet of sidewalk sheds covering New York City’s buildings. The new “Urban Umbrella” design will make pedestrian travel easier, eliminate impact on local businesses, increase sustainability and improve safety of sidewalk sheds. For his design Mr. Choi was awarded a $10,000 prize.

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The new design will cost roughly the same as the current design but will have lower maintenance and installation costs over time. The first full-scale prototype will be constructed in Lower Manhattan as part of the Re-Construction Art Program and will be overseen by the Downtown Alliance. The NYC Department of Buildings plans to issue a Bulletin that approves the new design as a standard throughout the city. Though the design will not be mandatory, the hope is that the lower costs and better quality-of-life associated with these “Urban Umbrellas” will entice contractors to ditch the old sidewalk sheds for a better, brighter new look.

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