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New York City Unveils New Design for Sidewalk Sheds

In late October 2009, we reported that the Department of Buildings and the AIA New York Chapter had teamed up with an array of other civic organizations to organize an international design competition to re-imagine the maligned sidewalk construction shed. Yesterday, the city announced that a winning design has been chosen from three finalists. The winning design, chosen by a jury including MAS Chairman David Childs, is titled Urban Umbrella and was developed by Young-Hwan Choi, a 28-year-old student at the University of Pennsylvania. His design will improve quality of life, reduce construction impacts on businesses, increase pedestrian safety, and increase available space for pedestrians on sidewalks, while also complimenting the city’s architectural beauty. The Alliance for Downtown New York will fund the construction and installation of a full-scale prototype of the design at a job site in Lower Manhattan. The new design will not be mandated, but it will be in the interest of contractors to use the new design due to the reduced maintenance costs and the interest of building owners and affected businesses, as the new design will obstruct less of a building’s facade and be more inviting to pedestrians. MAS fully supports this innovative competition and looks forward to the unveiling of the downtown prototype.