What is the true blight of New York City? The awful, industrial scaffolding that crops up to hide the beauty of attractive things and make ugly things uglier, usually when you least expect it, truly ruining any photo op you might be planning on having. Just a fact of life in a city, and something we have to get used to, grin and bear, and ignore? No longer! The New York Times reports that a new, prettier scaffolding prototype will soon be enjoying itself on a street near-ish you. One will be installed in December in front of 100 Broadway, an office building in Lower Manhattan. This is very exciting.
This is all the result of an urban shed design competition sponsored by the Department of Buildings to fix the terribly mortifying problem of scaffolding (a/k/a, it has a face not even a mother could love). The winning design, “Urban Umbrella,” from project engineer Sarrah Khan, architect Andres Cortes, and designer Young Hwan Choi of the Agencie Group design firm, uses recycled steel and plastic panels in a structure reminiscent of “an open umbrella,” or, if you squint and pretend, maybe a lovely white structural flower opening to the sun.
The Times points out that the new design is not mandatory — what is mandatory is that new construction of 40 feet or higher and building demolitions (in cases of buildings 25 feet or higher) have scaffolding, or “sidewalk sheds.”
But Danielle Grillo, the department’s executive director for community partnerships, predicted that “there is a population out there that would use a shed that is more aesthetically pleasing.” And the new design costs about the same as some existing sidewalk sheds.
Does this mean that we’ll all stop and stare at the city’s beautiful new scaffolding, perhaps even wanting to get our pictures taken with instead of without it, perhaps even wanting to bring it home and install it in our own apartments? Probably not. But it will be that much harder to do spontaneous pull-ups, that’s for sure.
Is everything just getting really fucking cute these days?