Penn student wins international urbanSHED competition

Urban Umbrella

New York City’s utilitarian, but unsightly construction sheds that protect pedestrians at building sites are getting a makeover because of a Penn School of Design student’s vision. Young-Hwan Choi’s design for the Urban Umbrella beat out 163 competitors to win the American Institute of Architect’s urbanSHED International Design Competition.

Choi, a first-year architecture student, worked with a team of professionals including architect Andrés Cortés and engineer Sarrah Khan to produce a design with translucent roof panels that allow more light to shine through than the old steel and plywood sheds. Also, the Urban Umbrella has tree-like supports, so storefront views won’t be obstructed. The design allows for easier access and more pedestrian space on the sidewalk, and colored appliqués can be added on the translucent fiberglass roof to create a stained glass look, making the design both functional and attractive.

New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the winner of the design competition, adding that this will be the first time the city’s sidewalk sheds have been significantly updated since the 1950s.

School of Design Dean Marilyn Jordan Taylor also praised the design. “Young’s inspiring design shows how an element of everyday urban life can improve our experience of the city and our use of its public sidewalks. Design can indeed make a difference.”


Originally published on January 28, 2010