Image via Gothamist.
Sometimes it seems like scaffolding covers half the buildings in New York. At any given moment, says the Department of Buildings, over a million feet of New York sidewalks are covered by construction sheds. Maintaining an island packed with centuries-old buildings is a challenge that will likely never end. So it's not surprising that the City's design for standard scaffolding hasn't changed for more than forty years - there hasn't been much down time to think it over.
Until 2009, when the City launched a competition called urbanSHED, which invited designers to propose alternative structural solutions to the scaffolding problem. The winner, a UPenn student named Young-Hwan Choi working with Andrés Cortés AIA and Sarrah Khan PE of Agencie Group, named his scheme "Urban Umbrella" for its iron vaults (which feature integrated LED lighting).
That was back in early 2010, and earlier this week, Mayor Bloomberg unveiled the first built iteration of the design. Gothamist reports that the rainy weather actually leaked on the unveiling - not because of a design flaw, but because they hadn't had a dry day to apply the silicone sealant that will waterproof the acrylic flutes.
The umbrellas have been almost universally lauded... Universally, but for one Archinect commenter, who asked "where are you supposed to post your band's concert posters?!"
Image (c) Transportation Nation.