New York is looking to add some style to the scaffolding that covers thousands of buildings throughout the city.
Urban Umbrella, the company that won a competition to redesign the drab green scaffolding overhanding sidewalks in New York City back in 2010 is finally ready to introduce their product after testing it out in Toronto. The first installation will be added in front of a 16-story office building at 20 West 22nd Street owned by ABS Partners.
“We needed to prove we could operate under the largest skyscrapers,” explained Benjamin Krall, co-founder of Urban Umbrella, of the time spent in Canada. “We are launching in Vancouver, Seattle and currently are being installed in front of the largest construction job in downtown Toronto.”
Urban Umbrella’s product is built out of translucent plastic and recycled steel, and is designed to allow more light to reach the sidewalk. The scaffolding can also be outfitted with color-changing LED lights to make it even more aesthetically pleasing. While the product is about 58 percent more expensive than traditional scaffolding, building owners are betting that the preserved revenue from businesses on the ground floor will make it more than worth the sticker price.
"Scaffolding has been a blight on NYC streets, and this product is ideal to solve the complications inherent with the need to maintain safe areas adjacent to construction sites, particularly those where construction will endure for an extended period of time, and simultaneously take into account the consideration of the people using the areas in and around these sites," said ABS President and Co-Managing Partner Gregg Schenker.
City regulations require scaffolding to provide pedestrians with protection from any objects that fall from the construction sites up the building, and Urban Umbrella is confident that their product will combine safety with aesthetics and improve the visual appeal of the city.
“Most people don’t enjoy walking under scaffolding and we think this will be a different kind of feeling, better for the tenants, and not an eyesore,” said Robert Finkelstein, also of ABS.