MATERIAL/IMMATERIAL The Architecture of Kengo Kuma


Stage II Finalist: urbanSHED International Design Competition

Design Merit Award: American Institute of Architects New York Chapter

Faculty Design Award: Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture



In New York City, more than 6,000 sidewalk sheds flank buildings and construction sites at any given time, obstructing more than 1 million linear feat of sidewalk. Most remain in place for a year or more, these supposedly temporary structures have become permanent features of the urban streetscape. 

While intended to protect pedestrians from overhead construction debris, they undermine the aesthetic and social qualities of one of the most important and dynamic forms of public space - the sidewalk.



Current NYC building codes prohibit their surfaces from being covered with posters, painting or anything visually stimulating, perpetuating them as fixed, utilitarian eyesores. For something that occupies the equivalent area of half of Central Park shouldn’t some attention be paid to quality of design and experience?

By utilizing lightweight translucent materials, suspended from buildings, urbanCLOUD creates a seemingly effortless structure while providing a soothing contrast to the dirt, noise and congestion of urban life. 



The underlying thesis here is that street scaffolding and sidewalk sheds should not be a burden within neighborhoods but rather create interesting spatial conditions, provide an area people want to inhabit, and add value to cities at both the pedestrian and urban scales.


Project Team:

KNE studio: 
Kevin Erickson, Dorin Baul, Dan Campbell, Mathew Strack

Kenya Hara + Magumi Nomura