New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled Manhattan’s first Urban Umbrella yesterday—a hotly anticipated, swanky new scaffolding shed—though "umbrella" might be something of a misnomer. During a photo op, rain leaked through the translucent plastic roof and landed smack dab on the mayor, DNAinfo reports.
Uh, design fail?
Not so fast. The structure—constructed at 100 Broadway—hadn’t been waterproofed yet because waterproofing has to be done in dry weather (of which there’s been very little in New York lately). The designers say that the umbrella will be watertight once its gaps are filled with silicone.
The point of the Urban Umbrella isn’t to protect against the elements, anyway (though, with a name like that, you’d kinda hope, right?). It’s meant to shield pedestrians from falling building debris.
UPenn grad Young-Hwan Choi and the architecture firm Agencie Group won a competition to design a new scaffolding shed for New York in 2009. They’ve been perfecting their Urban Umbrella concept ever since.
Now, the design is ready for prime time—or, nearly, anyway—and the hope is that Urban Umbrellas will replace the city’s existing scaffolding, unsightly wood-and-steel sheds that haven’t been updated in more than 60 years.
Here’s hoping the umbrellas don’t leak when the sky starts raining bricks, as the sky is wont to do in New York.
[Top image by Edward Reed]