UrbanSHED was a design call from the NYC Department of Buildings for reusable scaffolding to give a consistent look to construction projects throughout downtown Manhattan. This proposal creates a series of sheds that use a synthetic system of vertical tributaries to receive rainwater through swale scoops at the top of the wall, turning the shed into a cistern. The sheds are made structurally viable when filled, able to withstand wind, traffic and urban scale disruptions with a 300 psi vertical load. The sheds also feed the green elements of the streetscape with the use of LED lights, foliage and the removal of rainwater. The system produces oxygen in the winter when foam pellets are added to the water to prevent freezing and to maintain the strength of the system. The sheds thus generate a reciprocal condition between the natural and the synthetic, the stationary constraints of building and the liquid nature of movement.
The proposed structures are organized by a geometry that facilitates a clear-cut fabrication method. One structure is comprised of fourteen triangles, the other of sixteen joints. Both construction systems are prefabricated to accommodate existing street elements. The material used is high-density injection-molded polyethylene, a recyclable material that may be made from used bottles. Familiar products made from HDPE include highway barriers, plastic lumber, water pipes, and snowboard rails. The sheds are durable and simple to construct and create a positive addition to a city using recycled materials.