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November 25, 2005

More on the Stuckey, Gehry, Olin AIA presentation and discussion

Some of NLG’s observations at the Stuckey/Gehry/Olin show, from the community’s perspective:

AIASlide.jpgOn Tuesday night Frank Gehry did something Bruce Ratner has not dreamed of doing – met with community members face to face in a public forum. Unfortunately no one had informed the starchitect of the nature of this meeting, as evidenced by Mr. Gehry's frequent statement that he thought he would be meeting only with his peers.

Although the hoi polloi was only allowed one comment during the proceedings, other architects and urban design professionals in the crowd took up the task of looking through the presentation of the design for the arena portion of the project, and asked the tough questions about why the design has not taken into account the community or traffic on any level. Ratner PR henchman, Jim Stuckey had his answers ready.

When asked why FCR should be allowed both density and subsidies in return for including some affordable units, Stuckey replied that the density of the Atlantic Yards project is much lower compared to the downtown Brooklyn plan (which, unfortunately, may not be studied concurrently with the AYP for EIS purposes).

Stuckey was also asked why FCR has not made any models of the impact of traffic on the busiest intersection in Brooklyn, to which he replied that FCR has been busily videotaping the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush. When it was pointed out to him that taking video is not making a model, Stuckey replied that he SAID they had made models and the audience was just not listening.

Notable additions to the presentation seemed to focus on Lauri Olin's landscape design: varieties of tree species, ponds made from runoff, and bocce and volleyball courts. The latter two items were said included as examples of activities that would not cause a disturbance near apartment buildings. In contrast to non-disturbing recreation, Olin joked that the universal threat to safety is teenage males, justifying the placement of the basketball courts in an area said to be visible from the street, so that "mothers and babies" could feel safe.

The one community question that slipped through came from Peter Krashes the president of a block association on Dean Street. He asked a traffic circulation plan, specifically where all of the traffic originating from and servicing the arena was going to end up in surrounding neighborhoods. Although he did not receive a formidable answer, he summed up community sentiment with the following statement:

"The red dot you put on the map with the pointer, Mr. Gehry, and said you don't know what that is? That's my home."

Posted by lumi at November 25, 2005 10:16 AM