GMS collaborated with Gensler on a concept design of a new system for New York City construction sheds. This design was one of four winning entries in a competition organized by the New York Building Congress.

In order to grow and prosper, New York City must continuously build, whether it is brand-new construction or renovation and modernization of existing structures. While the process of building is a welcome sign of a City in a constant state of reinvention, it can come at a temporary cost to the quality of life in and around individual building sites.

To generate ideas for improved construction shed designs, the New York Building Congress Task Force on Innovation and Best Practices joined forces with the New York Building Foundation to launch an industry-wide design competition in July 2015. Members of the building community were invited to submit one conceptual or schematic design for a buildable construction shed that would be evaluated based on aesthetics, ability to meet engineering standards, functionality, safety, and constructability.

Of 33 submissions, four winners were selected by an expert jury composed of architects, engineers, contractors, and building owners. The winning submissions met the design criteria in different ways, each presenting an innovative approach to reducing or eliminating the bracing that blocks natural light and interferes with the pedestrian experience.

The winning teams also demonstrated close attention to the aesthetics of their structures — creating off-the-shelf designs that will be more attractive than standard sheds. While elegant, all of the designs are simple to erect and use readily available materials, satisfying a key objective of the competition that the designs minimize additional costs to building owners and be easy to assemble to encourage adoption by the industry.


The Gensler/GMS design introduces just one new 8” HSS member to the system to carry the required live loads of the bridge. These members are modularized with 3.2” diameter holes spaced throughout to create a new system that allows for a more efficient erection process and becomes a design feature after installation is complete.

Looking around the city at existing construction shed/bridges, it is clear that they fail to create an inviting experience that illuminates the storefronts beyond. The team saw this as an important factor and began its design by establishing a clear opening of 20’ high by 20’ wide. The holes in the columns are designed to accept the existing 3” diameter pipes that will be used to temporarily shore the structure and also create a systematic erection process.

Once installation is complete, the apertures can be utilized for additional program elements such as lighting, signage to promote pedestrian interaction and panels that can create barricades where required. Also in the spirit of modularity, the team proposed linear LED lighting elements that are lightweight, easily installed and therefore, easily removed and saved for reuse.


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