In 2009, Agencie’s design was selected as the winning entry in a city-sponsored design competition. Run by the Department of Buildings, the competition sought a fresh new sidewalk shed to replace the dark boxy scaffolding that is ubiquitous in New York City. Our design, called Urban Umbrella, melded high-strength steel and polycarbonate into a shape that resembles a gracefully unfurling umbrella.
"A team consisting of Andres Cortes, Sarrah Khan and Young Hwan Choi from Agencie Group, a design firm based in New York, gracefully melded recycled steel and translucent plastic panels into a structure that resembles an open umbrella."
Urban Umbrella is not just a pretty rendering. Following the competition win, the structure was extensively engineered to meet Department of Buildings standards. Finite element analysis was performed on the structure to meet the 300 lbs per square foot loading requirements. The panel and frame system tested for small missile impact. Agencie engineered over 250 pages of calculations for review by the Department of Building. The end result is a fully engineered and tested prototype that was unveiled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg at 100 Broadway in Lower Manhattan.
With arching struts sweeping the structure upwards, Urban Umbrella is modern and harmonious. It is gleaming white with transparent overhead panels and sustainable soft LED lighting. Not only is Urban Umbrella better looking than its predecessors, it actually allows for more air, light, and walking-around room underneath.
"Urban Umbrella is a perfect combination of design elegance and construction safety."
Urban Umbrella is not just an elegant design. It’s an implemented, engineered and fabricated structure. It is one example of our uncompromising commitment to bring great ideas to life.
Winner of the City of New York Urbanshed Competition
New York Times
Condé Nast Traveler
Sarrah Khan, PE
Andrés Cortés, RA
Young Hwan Choi