AIANY & DOB Launch urbanSHED International Design Competition

The aim of the competition is to create “a fresh, new sidewalk shed design that’s sustainable, economical, meets or exceeds current safety requirements and City regulations, improves technical and structural performance – and creates a better environment for the people who live in, work in and visit New York City.”

280 Broadway

Last week, the AIA’s New York chapter and the Department of Buildings launched an international design competition that will seek to redesign the concept of the urban construction shed around sustainable design principles. The competition’s goal is to create “a fresh, new sidewalk shed design that’s sustainable, economical, meets or exceeds current safety requirements and City regulations, improves technical and structural performance – and creates a better environment for the people who live in, work in and visit New York City.”

As you likely know, sidewalk sheds are required over public spaces to protect pedestrians from overhead construction activity; currently, there are more than 6000 sidewalk sheds installed and in use in the city that span over 1 million linear feet. The competition site is 280 Broadway, the landmarked 7-story building between Chambers and Reade Streets just north of City Hall that’s currently home to DOB; the Italianate tower was once home to the original New York Sun newspaper and the A.T. Stewart Store- New York City’s first department store.

Entries will be judged across a number of categories, including overall design excellence, constructability, safety, and sustainability. The winning urbanSHED must reflect the goals of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030 program and incorporate green materials, minimize overall energy use, maximize daylight, protect existing trees and foliage, and incorporate wastewater management principles. In addition, designers are being encouraged to consider how the urbanSHED might recycle the structural components of the city’s existing construction shed inventory.

As part of the Re-Construction Art Program, the Downtown Alliance plans to construct a full-scale prototype of the winning entry and DOB will issue an OTCR (Office of Technical Certification and Research) Bulletin establishing the winning urbanSHED design as an approved standard that can be used by the New York City construction industry. Registration for the competition closes on September 18 and a winner will be announced in mid-December. The nine-person jury includes David Childs, Jean Oei of Morphosis, and Frank Sciame, among other notables. Dovetail Design Strategists is the competition advisor overseeing the development and management of the competition.

This coming Wednesday, August 19 at 12PM, AIA New York is hosting a launch event for the competition at the Center for Architecture. Commissioner of Buildings Robert LiMandri, Department of Transportation Commissioner Jeanette Sadik-Kahn, and AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell will speak at “Not Business As Usual,” a free lunch-and-lecture series aimed at addressing the special needs of architects affected by the economic downturn. The panel will discuss the details of the urbanSHED competition and why reimagining the New York City streetscape during the recession is a great opportunity for architects and the city alike. You can RSVP for the event below.

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