If a whole flock of ghostly animals starts appearing in downtown New York this fall, don’t panic. It’ll just mean that the public picked Chris Shelley’s design “…of special concern” as a winner in the Buildings and Cultural Affairs Departments’ urbancanvas competition, which solicited ideas for decorating the construction fences, sidewalk sheds, scaffolding and cocoons that act as eyesores on seemingly every New York City street.
From today through October 1, you can vote for your favorite of the eight finalist designs, whittled down by a professional jury from a starting pool of over 700 entries, with the most popular four selected to appear around the city later this fall. The range of design strategies is broad, with Jen Magathan’s trompe-l’oeuil sky in “My Urban Sky” making buildings disappear, and Mauricio Lopez and Jesse T. Ross’s kaleidoscopic “Color Mesh” making them jump out from the streetscape.
Shelley’s design adds an unusual interactive component, pairing the silhouettes of five local endangered species with a bar-code panel on the corner of the screen. When a visitor scans the bar code with her iPhone, it will take her to a website with the full endangered species list.
After voting closes, property owners, contractors and businesses will be allowed to select a design from the four winners and print it on any temporary protective structures installed on City-owned property. (They also have the option of printing their construction screens with an image of the project being built, but where’s the fun in that?)