Cellular Canopy

StreetFest Competition Entry
2011

I proposed to create a Cellular Canopy above the sidewalk – providing a spatial experience akin to walking within a deep forest – a respite from the concrete gauntlet of Bowery.

The Cellular Canopy is composed of individual hexagonal units or cells which when bolted together form an undulating surface. The cells are composed of four sheets of CNC milled Coroplast – a lightweight, corrugated plastic material – that are then folded and fastened together. The fold induces double curvature, providing rigidity in the final form. The Coroplast comes in a wide variety of colors, which will be used to signify underlying program. For instance, red represents eating/food vendor areas, blue represents workshops/exhibits, yellow represents vendors, and green represents performance areas. With color and strategic arrangement, the flexibility of the system will enable the tents to be customized to the final program pieces. The cells will also be lit from inside using small LED groups with independent battery sources.

The curvature and geometry of the folds creates an operable ocular aperture in the center of the cell that can be opened and closed. Each of the ridge valleys is attached to a simple ratchetting mechanism that when pulled will close the opening. When the ratchet is released, the oculus will open under its own tensile power. When arranged in a group, the surface of the canopy will appear to undulate due to the variety of cell openness.

The combined units can form canopies of various sizes, from a small vendor to a large covered seating area for a performance. The canopy has braided steel cable guy wires and will be suspended from rented telescopic boom lifts or existing buildings and street furniture.

The Cellular Canopy is a lightweight, flexible, variable, and playful solution that provides a temporary street structure that truly enhances the existing street landscape.

This was my entry in the StreetFest Competition organized by the Storefront of Art and Architecture and the New Museum “for the design, management, and construction of temporary outdoor spaces that produce new ways for collective gathering and city engagement.”

Cellular Canopy

competition entry boards

Cellular Canopy: Cell Opening from Cheryl Baxter on Vimeo.