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Thread: A Sidewalk Shed for the 21st Century

  1. #1
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Default A Sidewalk Shed for the 21st Century

    August 12, 2009

    A Sidewalk Shed for the 21st Century

    By Jennifer 8. Lee


    The headquarters of the city’s Department of Buildings will be used as
    the model edifice for a design competition for a new sidewalk shed.


    New York City Department of Buildings The headquarters of the city’s Department of Buildings will be used as the model edifice for a design competition for a new sidewalk shed.

    Imagine if other technologies had stayed as static as New York City’s sidewalk sheds over the last four decades. Televisions would still use analog signals. The Internet would consist of four computers in California and Utah. And cars would have eight-track tape decks and get an average of 12.5 miles to the gallon.

    But as the world has moved on, the sidewalk shed — the ubiquitous wooden and steel contraptions outside construction sites that symbolize the constant rejuvenation of New York — has largely been unchanged since the 1960s: erector-style frameworks with flat, flappy roofs that residents have used as rain shelters, bike racks and even chin-up apparatus. What little progress there has been has all been in the lighting: fluorescent has gradually replaced incandescent.

    Kenneth J. Buettner, the third-generation owner of the York Scaffold Equipment Corporation, said, “I have pictures of my father and the same type of design we have today at the demolition of the Astor Hotel.” That took place in 1967. Lest one think there has been no evolution in the shed at all, earlier versions from the first part of 20th century were made entirely of wood, and actually used doors from demolished buildings as roofs.

    Mr. Buettner and other scaffolding executives argue that the current functional design has stood the test of time. New York City — where pedestrian density, soaring edifices and a handful of fatal accidents have prompted increasingly strict laws requiring the use of sheds — currently has some 6,000 sheds, which collectively span more than one million linear feet.
    But the design-minded say the static design actually represents a rut — or, one might even venture, a certain close-mindedness. The sheds have negative functionality, too: they are an eyesore, their bolts can wreck purses, and they are highly disruptive to the businesses that they cover up and block.

    So in an attempt to drag the sidewalk shed into the 21st century, the city’s Department of Buildings, together with the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects and other groups, is holding a worldwide design contest called UrbanShed, which is calling for innovative reinterpretation of a classic piece of New York’s streetscape. (In other cities, the sidewalk shed, also known as a sidewalk bridge, is called a “New York-style shed.”)

    The competition will be officially announced on Thursday. Submissions, due Oct. 2, will be evaluated by a panel of nine judges for cost, functionality and aesthetics. Three finalists will be winnowed down to a single winner to be announced in December.

    The judges are a cross section of construction executives, city officials and architects; Amanda M. Burden, director of the Department of City Planning; David M. Childs, the architect, who is also chairman of the Municipal Art Society of New York; Craig Dykers, a partner at Snohetta; Robert D. LiMandri, the buildings commissioner; Jean Oei, an architect at Morphosis; Janette Sadik-Khan, the transportation commissioner; Craig Michael Schwitter of Buro Happold North America; Frank Sciame, a past chairman of the New York Building Congress; and Ada Tolla, a partner at the design firm LOT-EK.

    The real estate bust and an increasing interest in urban design have created an opportune time for the competition. “I remember trying to do something like this a decade ago, and the psychology wasn’t there,” said Fredric M. Bell, executive director of the New York architects’ chapter. Mr. LiMandri, the buildings commissioner, added, “During a slowdown, we have the opportunity to tap the best and most interesting designers because they have time to talk to us.”

    Whether the designs are adopted is ultimately a choice of the three dozen or so scaffolding companies around the city that actually lease the sheds. “I’m open to the possibilities of it,” Mr. Buettner of York Scaffold said. “I’m anxious to see things come of it that will create a more pleasing place for pedestrians.”

    But the organizers say that simply drumming up possibilities will create demand for alternatives to the status quo. In fact, there is already some demand, as landlords have pushed away from the traditional sidewalk shed at Lincoln Center, the Bank of America Tower and at St. Patrick’s Cathedral with higher, whiter, brighter designs. “Part of what we do is to create a platform for people to make a choice,” said Mr. LiMandri, who said that businesses were yearning for something new. “Ultimately, the tenants drive the decision of what the landlord does.”

    Organizers are throwing around tantalizing concepts: Transclucent materials! High-strength plastics! Natural light! Sustainability!

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...st-century/?hp

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    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Three Ways to Make Construction Sites Less Ugly

    October 13, 2009, by Joey


    "urbanCLOUD," developed by Kevin Erickson, Brodie Bricker, Dan Campbell, Johann Rischau and Mathew Strack of KNEStudio in New York.





    Scholars have long sought ways to make Lower Manhattan's construction sites more visually appealing, which some people seem to have a problem with. The latest effort to bless the mess with a bit of creativity is called urbanSHED, an international design competition "to create a new standard of sidewalk shed design that improves the pedestrian experience while maintaining or exceeding the required safety standards in New York City."

    The 164(!) submissions were narrowed down to three finalists, each of which will receive $5,000 to further develop the design in Stage II of the competition. The winner will be announced in December, and the champ will get $10,000 and a prototype installed on a Lower Manhattan job site. Heck, there are plenty to choose from!

    The jury that will decide the winner features some heavy hitters, including DOB boss Robert LiMandri, City Planning bossette Amanda Burden, David Childs, Frank Sciame and SnØhetta's Craig Dykers. Eff 'em! It's the people that will have to stare at this thing, and it's the people that should decide the outcome. Details on the finalists are in the gallery above. So tell us...

    Which shed should come out ahead?

    urbanSHED Interional Design Competition [urbanshed.org]

    http://curbed.com/archives/2009/10/1..._less_ugly.php

  3. #3
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    City Picks Winner in Construction Site Beautification Contest

    January 21, 2010, by Sara









    It was the least favorite choice of Curbed readers, but the city and the American Institute of Architects have gone against the wishes of the Curbediverse and named Urban Umbrella the winner of its urbanSHED international design competition. This design was created by 28-year-old Young-Hwan Choi, who gets $10,000 and a prototype installed on a Lower Manhattan site. Beyond that, contractors won't be required to use the urban umbrella, but using it will be, in press release-ease, "in the best interest of contractors" because the new design costs less than your average sidewalk shed. Take a look at the urban umbrella -- in all weathers! -- in the gallery above. Workable, or does the city need to recount the votes?

    Curbed Poll: Three Ways to Make Construction Less Ugly [Curbed]

    http://curbed.com/archives/2010/01/2...on_contest.php

  4. #4

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    Is this really going to be implimented? Surely it will be much more expensive and more awkward to build than the standard scaffolding construction?

  5. #5

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    Yuck! I wonder how strong these are when the proverbial ton of bricks falls from 10 floors up.

    What's wrong with the ones they use now?. They should just paint them so they look neat and provide better lighting underneath.

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    The street shed design reminds me of the Rideau Street Chapel (c1880) that is installed inside the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa:

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    Quote Originally Posted by uakoops View Post
    I wonder how strong these are when the proverbial ton of bricks falls from 10 floors up.
    The competition stated that the submitted designs would have to meet the same building code requirements as the existing model.

  8. #8

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    ^ You'd need a structural engineer to determine if that was the case in every instance.

    Surely you wouldn't just believe the architect.

  9. #9

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    ^
    You could say the same for the existing model. How much are the sheds compromised by specific site conditions, like high garage entrances or sidewalk obstructions?

    I would think there is some basic load and impact criteria that must be met.

  10. #10

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    Will the new design be anywhere near as versatile as the current one.

  11. #11

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    Can it be designed to self-destruct in six months?

    That cloud thing is totally incomprehensible. What is that --styrofoam?

    When the load of brick falls, do the bricks stick picturesquely in the styrofoam like George Clooney's stubble?

  12. #12

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    I like this City Beautiful initiative but couldn't we direct it to more permanent and prominent things first before we go replacing sidewalk sheds, bus stops, newsstands, and lighting fixtures? I dream of the day when Gene Kaufmann is no longer permitted to put up his monstrosities.

  13. #13
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    ^ Problem with that is outside of this forum, most people do not think Kaufman McSams are ugly.

    Your average New Yorker and even the pols don't think there's anything wrong with them. Ugly to them is something that is out-of-scale, i.e. really tall. McSams are rarely ever really tall, so they pass the test in those people's eyes.

    Heck, even some people here have in the past defended them and even went as far as saying they're not ugly, an improvement to what was there before, and how all the discount hotel rooms benefits the city.

  14. #14

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    I doubt most New Yorkers could identify what a McSam is or claim they've ever seen one. Besides the ones on Water & Canal Street, they're mostly in obscure locations. Of course this is no excuse for their oogliness though.


    Anyway, some large shots of the winning design:












    Hopefully this wasn't a complete waste of time and money. I doubt we'll be seeing this design completely replace the type we're using now. I think they're putting too much belief in building owners, who barely keep the exteriors of their buildiIf the city was serious they should have required all building owners to use this type of shed by a specific date (like how they did for those storefront gates).


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    PR- 032-10
    January 21, 2010

    MAYOR BLOOMBERG, BUILDINGS COMMISSIONER LIMANDRI UNVEIL NEW DESIGN FOR SIDEWALK SHEDS THAT PROTECT PEDESTRIANS FROM BUILDING CONSTRUCTION

    http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgo...&rc=1194&ndi=1

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    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    The glass-like diaphanous enclosures shown atop the shed are totally unworkable.

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