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Sidewalk Sheds as Eyesores To Become a Thing of the Past

illegal advertising signage new york city buildingSidewalk sheds are required whenever renovation or new construction takes place on a building, or a Department of Buildings inspector suspects an unsafe condition exists. These sidewalks sheds are erected in order to protect pedestrians and typically remain in place for nearly a year, sometimes even longer. Currently there are more than 6,000 sidewalk sheds standing in New York City, spanning more than a million linear feet. The Department of Buildings and AIA New York Chapter have teamed up with an array of other civic organizations to organize an international design competition called UrbanShed that seeks a brighter future for this unique New York City structure. Contestants had been asked to design a sidewalk shed that is sustainable, economical and attractive.  On October 7, a jury of nine design, engineering and construction professionals, including MAS Chairman David Childs, met and chose three finalists that will advance to Stage II of the competition.  The jury also selected three additional projects for honorable mention. Click here to check out the entries. Competitors had been asked to create site-specific designs for 280 Broadway (home of New York City Department of Buildings). As you can see from the above link the three finalists offer very different and unique possibilities.  The “urbanCLOUD” suggests the possibility of anchoring the sidewalk shed to the building and leaving the sidewalk free of any supporting structure. The other two finalists rely on sidewalk support but have unique sheds overhead. The MAS fully supports this effort to create a better environment for people who use our city sidewalks every day. New Yorkers need protection from construction debris, but they are also entitled to well-designed safety structures that are functional and attractive.