Construction for a Livable City


Four Innovative and Attractive Designs Selected From Among 33 Submissions

NEW YORK, December 17, 2015 – The New York Building Congress today announced four winners from its Construction Shed Design Competition, an initiative to create innovative and attractive alternatives to the confining and often forbidding structures that currently cover nearly 200 miles of sidewalks around building sites throughout the five boroughs.

The four winning entries, chosen from among 33 submissions are Side+Ways+Shed by Francis Cauffman; SCAFFOLDWING by Gannett Fleming Engineers and Architects, P.C.; G-Shed by Gensler; and UrbanArbor by PBDW Architects and Anastos Engineering Associates.

The Construction Shed Design Competition was spearheaded by the Building Congress Task Force on Innovation and Best Practices and the New York Building Foundation.

"The New York Building Congress issued a challenge to the industry to use its ingenuity and expertise to offer fresh ideas for solving a vexing quality of life issue for New Yorkers, who experience the construction industry most often when navigating the obstructions and cramped spaces of construction sheds," said Thornton-Tomasetti Chairman and CEO, Thomas Scarangello, who also serves as Chairman of the Building Congress and its innovation task force. "The industry's collective response has been truly inspirational."

Sciame Construction Chairman and CEO Frank J. Sciame, who chaired the competition committee said, "While all 33 submissions were impressive, the Design Review Committee of 14 leading industry executives ultimately settled on the four that best exemplified the goals of the competition of offering practical, cost-effective off-the-shelf designs that are far more attractive than standard sheds."

Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson added, "The winners also stood out for their innovative approaches to reducing or eliminating the bracing that interferes with the pedestrian experience, permitting a more natural pattern for foot traffic. Each of the designs also succeeded in opening up their sheds along the curb line, allowing more natural light to flow into the structures."

In evaluating the submissions, the Design Review Committee sought designs that could meet rigorous New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) requirements and would be suitable for use on new commercial construction in central business districts, new small- to mid-size residential and commercial projects, and Local Law 11 masonry repair work.

"I applaud the New York Building Congress and the New York Building Foundation for sponsoring this effort to beautify our City by having construction professionals design new and innovative sheds that meet or exceed shed safety requirements outlined in the NYC Construction Codes," said Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler. "The Department looks forward to reviewing the plans of the winning applicants for code compliance, which will allow developers to incorporate a unique and more aesthetically appealing safeguarding structure into their projects."

New York City Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora said, "The New York Building Congress and its members deserve great praise for their efforts to improve the look and feel of New York's sidewalk sheds and for creating a 'real-time' process. We look forward to using the 'Urban Arbor' design at one of the New York City Department of Design and Construction projects in the near future. The 'Urban Arbor' proposal is poetic, evoking a tree-lined boulevard, but also pragmatic, using less material more efficiently. Its environmental qualities, including use of recycled materials and LED lighting, bring the shed into the 21st century."

All of the designs, while elegant, are simple to assemble and employ readily-available materials, thus satisfying a key objective of the competition: to encourage wide adoption by minimizing additional cost or inconvenience to building owners.

The Building Congress has begun meeting with building owners, developers and construction managers to promote implementation of the new shed designs at individual construction sites.

"Pizzarotti IBC is undertaking several highly visible construction projects in New York City in the coming months, and we want to make sure that the public is left with the best impression of our company and our work," said Pizzarotti IBC CEO Rance MacFarland, who has committed to using Gensler's G-Shed for its upcoming condominium project at 251 West 14th Street in Manhattan. "In addition to enhancing the overall aesthetics of the New York City sidewalk shed, we were really impressed by the simplicity and practicality of the engineering solutions employed in each of the four designs."

To follow are brief summaries of each of the four sidewalk shed designs.


Design Team: Robert Miller, Raymond Bourraine, and Mariel Mugford

Gensler's G-Shed addresses several urban goals. New modular posts allow for seamless adaptation with existing systems, eliminating complicated bracing while creating an inviting arcade that offers a unique lighting opportunity and the potential for retail signage. With reduced obstructions, this solution enhances the retailer's street level presence, which results in an improved pedestrian experience.

Gannett Fleming Engineers and Architects, P.C.

Architectural Design Team: Joe Loquercio, Paul Michaels, Huzefa Irfani, Farzana Anika, and Hassan Abbasi; Structural Design Team: Amr Aly, Greg Matthews, Frank Chin-Yu Hsieh, and Marc Fernandez

SCAFFOLDWING maintains the ease of assembly of existing scaffolding systems while improving the experience and function at street level. Gannett Fleming envisions a wing stretching out across the sidewalk, pitched to direct natural light to street level and properly drain rainwater. The roof decking is made of translucent polycarbonate panels, keeping the structure feeling light and airy. The structural members are designed to improve the pedestrian's connection to the street and the flow of pedestrian traffic.

Francis Cauffman

Design Team: James Crispino, Danei Cesario and Jessica Brams-Miller

The Side+Ways+Shed maintains the energetic street life of New York, which is vital to the life of the city, while construction projects are in process. In the Side+Ways+Shed, the structural components and LED lights, powered by photovoltaics, are combined to avoid the tunnel effect caused by conventional sheds. The structural columns are wrapped in a fabric that enlivens the streetscape and provides visual cues to pedestrians as they walk down the street.

PBDW Architects and Anastos Engineering Associates

Design Team: Serena Losonczy, Matthew Mueller, Thomas Faust, Sean King and Connie Cheng of PBDW; Chris Anastos of Anastos Engineering

UrbanArbor evokes the experience of walking down a tree-lined boulevard. Y-shaped vertical posts with diagonal braces high above pedestrian level mimic the innate structural economy of branching trees, reducing the density of posts by 50 percent. Translucent polycarbonate parapets afford maximum daylight at sidewalk level while LED lights and solar panels save energy.

Design Review Committee
Each of the 33 submissions was carefully reviewed by a Design Review Committee composed of a broad representation of building industry leaders with deep familiarity with the New York City construction market. The committee consisted of:

  • Frank Sciame, Jr., Chairman/CEO, Sciame Construction
  • John M. Dionisio, Chairman Emeritus, AECOM
  • Raymond P. Daddazio, President/CEO, Weidlinger Associates
  • George Leventis, Managing Principal/President, Langan Engineering
  • James W. Feuerborn, Jr., Principal, Thornton Tomasetti
  • Jill N. Lerner, Principal, Kohn Pederson Fox Associates
  • Richard Dattner, Principal, Dattner Architects
  • Alexander Lamis, Partner, Robert A.M. Stern Architects
  • Kevin O'Callaghan, President, Universal Builders Supply
  • Philip Pitruzzello, Vice President, Columbia University/Manhattanville Capital Projects
  • Jonathan Drescher, Senior Vice President of Project Development, The Durst Organization
  • Howard Roland, President, EW Howell
  • Sean Szatkowski, Vice President – Operations, Skanska USA Building
  • Rick Bell, Executive Director, Design and Construction Excellence, New York City Department of Design and Construction

The four winners are sharing a $10,000 prize from the New York Building Foundation.

More information on the competition and the winning submissions is available at


The New York Building Congress is a membership coalition of business, labor, association and government organizations promoting the design, construction and real estate industry in New York City.

The New York Building Foundation was formed in 1998 to complement the New York Building Congress through a program of targeted philanthropy, research and educational activities.