Urbanism, Architecture, Commercial, Public Space

LocationNew York, NY
Team LeaderGenesis Baque
DesignerGael Oriol
MentorsB.Akhavan, A. Zapata, E. Solomnishvili, N.Hassan

Curbside aims to respond to changing times by proposing more comfortable public streets. The current social distancing regulations the world is facing has forced small businesses to occupy the streets - which was once the space for pedestrians - causing an extensive amount of issues due to the lack of space.

The debate between permanent vs. temporary structures leads to the arrangement of reused scaffoldings as the main elements Curbside. The new space will be developed with readily available materials, where the scaffold moves from the sidewalk onto the full street creating a network of elevated streets as well as providing shade below. This speculative design, proposes an open street only transited by people.

The final proposal includes a temporary structure made with the reused scaffold, ADA accessible elevators, bike lanes, seating areas, and vegetation. The design expands the feeling of a sidewalk across the full street allowing more public space around congested business areas. The elevated path will create more areas and opportunities for people to walk safely outside while practicing social distancing.

The structure follows a modular system that repeats along the street, creating a continuous path. The module was designed to encourage social distance, avoid big group gatherings, work with existing bike lanes, create shade, and look attractive next to restaurant parklets. One module is approximately 30'x9’. For context, the site intervention is placed on a two-lane street, but we forecast that the design can perform on different street types and be adapted as needed.

Targeted areas for Curbside are small business areas in New York City, particularly restaurants currently working outside of their interior space to comply with new regulations. Most operable restaurants have constructed temporary parklets, which obstruct pedestrian circulation. By providing extra space for pedestrians, we inevitably serve businesses by allowing for more pedestrian areas near yet separate from small businesses.

Materials used to construct Curbside would not need to be manufactured: most already exist in NYC because the project only uses components found in typical scaffolding. The only exceptions would be the staircase I-beam spine and the glass guardrail. The goal is to make the full intervention something that can be easily deployable as well as taken apart when no longer needed.