Here’s a look at 4 reimagined sidewalk sheds: VIDEO

NY Building Congress seeking to replace "unsightly" scaffolding across city

If you think sidewalk sheds are becoming more ubiquitous, you’re not wrong.

In the past 12 months alone, a total of 7,446 permits for sidewalk sheds were filed for more than 7,000 buildings across the city. In response, the New York Building Congress launched a competition in June seeking cost-effective designs that could replace unsightly scaffolding.

Last week, the industry group announced four winners, whose designs were a far-cry from the heaps of wood and metal that now hover over more than 200 miles of sidewalk space in New York City.

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The “UrbanArbor” design

“The Design Review Committee of fourteen leading industry executives ultimately settled on the four [designs] 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,” said Frank Sciame, who heads up an eponymous construction firm and chaired the competition’s committee.

“UrbanArbor” has autumnally-colored beams, which resemble a tree-lined street. Translucent polycarbonate parapets let in more natural light, and solar-powered LED bulbs illuminate the sidewalk at night. The ceiling of the “ScaffoldWing” design is also semitransparent, and angled for effective rainwater drainage.

The “Side+Ways+Shed” positions support beams wrapped in fabric against the building’s walls, granting more room on the sidewalk. The “G-Shed,” too, has LED lighting and, unlike the others, boosts higher shed roofs to allow greater visibility for storefronts. The design shows “modular posts,” replacing complicated bracing systems in favor of a more seamless adaptation.

Whether or not developers are willing to fork out extra cash to use them remains up for debate. A revamped design called “Urban Umbrella” gained some steam back in 2010, but was never adopted by construction companies due to its $150-per-linear-foot price tag.