Its not everyday that construction and office workers stop to photograph a sidewalk scaffolding shed, but that’s just what they were doing today on Broadway in Lower Manhattan. Yesterday, the mayor unveiled the new Urban Umbrella shed designed by Angencie Group. The new design, the result of a competition sponsored by the AIANY and the Department of Buildings, was fabricated by the Brooklyn based Caliper Studio.
For the new sheds, multiple arcs of steel swoop up from the individual posts, fluting out at the top to hold translucent semicircle panels. The design allows day light to pore onto the sidewalk, lessening the need for electric lighting, and permitting views up toward the building’s facade. The new shed allows pedestrians to dodge between the posts instead of being corralled together in narrow walkways bound by crossbars.
The design might look familiar, but references to mid century paraboloids or gothic cathedral ceilings are incidental said Angencie Group’s Andrés Cortés. “We didn’t really work by analogy,” Cortés said. “There are a lot of similarities you can draw from a hundred years ago, but what drove it formally was the quarter umbrellas that oppose each other.” The architect developed the project with partners Young-Hwan Choi and Sarrah Khan. He noted that the tectonics and performance requirements of the material drove the design formally. Nevertheless, he did allow, “There is something familiar, and that’s what’s comforting about it.”