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September 16, 2009

SHoP 'til you drop

Curbed, Barclays Center Must Make Room for Big Buddies


Among Atlantic Yards supporters—they're out there, right?—one highlight of Frank Gehry's original design was the way the Barclays Center arena would fit in with four new towers going up right around it, including the project's centerpiece skyscraper, dubbed Miss Brooklyn. Miss Brooklyn later downsized to B1 and then vanished altogether (the new Barclays Center designs show a big pedestrian plaza at the Flatbush and Atlantic intersection), but here's a crazy thought: What happens if the economy improves? Then it's hello B1 and goodbye plaza! Don't call it a comeback?

In an interview with the Observer, SHoP's Greg Pasquarelli said the firm was "told to design a building that can stand on its own, for the short term, and a design that clearly doesn't have anything that can obstruct the rest of the plan." At a public flogging discussion last night to discuss the new Barclays Center design, the architects reiterated that the "grand urban gesture" of the arena entrance could one day have a big ol' tower on top of it, and they must accommodate that possibility. Of course, Gehry's design is long gone, so who would design B1 and the other border buildings? Pasquarelli says he'd love to give it a whirl, but after reading Justin Davidson's thorough dismantling of the firm's involvement in Atlantic Yards ("SHoP has hocked its reputation for the sake of a PR stratagem that seems unlikely to end in triumph."), he might reconsider. Go Nets?

The Brooklyn Paper, Like the new Yards arena? That’s too bad, because it will change when the economy improves

Enjoy the new renderings of the Barclays Center while you can — because if the economy gets back on track, the look of the rippling steel building will be altered radically to include new buildings, including one atop the arena’s signature entrance way.

That was the main bit of news from Monday night’s presentation by the architecture team behind developer Bruce Ratner’s proposed basketball arena at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues.

Other details emerged from the session:

• Of the limited retail space on the ground floor of the arena, the largest space is reserved for a team store.

• Basketball fans will still be able to see the scoreboard from the street during games, a key Gehry design.

• Advertising signage has been dramatically scaled back from Gehry’s scheme, which called for 150-foot billboards on either side of the “Urban Room.” There will be some room for LED advertising in the latticework of the building’s exterior, but Pasquarelli said it would be minor.

• The architects have signed onto Ratner’s optimistic timeline of breaking ground in December and then finishing the entire building in 26 months so that it can be of use during the 2011-12 basketball season.

A brief argument ensued after the question and answer session. The designers themselves were spirited away from reporters after the session by a spokesman for Ratner, so some members of the public took out their hostilities on Bell for omitting any questions about the development process, sticking only to design issues.

The Architect's Newspaper Blog, SHoP-ing for a Fight

SHoP’s new designs for the Barclay’s Center at Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards site has probably gotten the firm more attention than any of its previous ones, including its rather controversial plans for Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport. Today, Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn penned an open-letter to the firm, calling out “Mr. Sharples, Mr. Sharples, Ms. Sharples, Ms. Holden, and Mr. Pasquarelli” for signing on to “a very contentious and troubled project that faces widespread resistance from the communities it would impact—and well beyond.” Meanwhile, “Mr. Pasquarelli” sat down with the Observer to, uh, talk shop on the project and defend his firm’s involvement in the project: “We gave serious consideration as to whether we wanted to do it. And I think the thing that convinced us was, after speaking with Bruce, we were convinced he really wanted to make a great building.”

Atlantic Yards Report, Video from session Monday with architects at Borough Hall

Here are some excerpts from the presentation Monday night at Borough Hall by Atlantic Yards arena architects Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP and Bill Crockett of Ellerbe Becket.

Even though the event was officially the second community information session promised by the Empire State Development Corporation, it was essentially a continuing education session sponsored by the AIA NY, with probably at least half the people in the room architects.

The moderator, AIA New York executive director Rick Bell, kept the discussion limited to design issues, despite the distinct desire of several people in the room to go beyond that.

Atlantic Yards Report, SHoP's path not taken in Prospect Heights: historic renovation plus new construction

[Greg Pasquarelli] also pointed to the firm's use of the computer and the renovation of Porter House in the Meatpacking District, a historic renovation topped with a new building.

Nobody made reference to the lost opportunity to renovate and build on top of the Ward Bakery and other buildings in the Atlantic Yards footprint.

Then again, Pasquarelli was there to talk about the arena only. No one was there to talk about the urban design and the project conception as a whole.

The Sports ITeam Blog (NY Daily News), Hey, Nets fans? Want a burger?

Scott Turner's newsletter for Rocky Sullivan's Pub Quiz is one of the best things to hit our inbox every week. This time around, the Brooklyn activist points out that the design for the Nets' proposed Atlantic Yards arena looks a lot like one of our favorite household appliances.

Brownstoner, Atlantic Yards Arena: Subject to Change

The biggest news from the meeting was that the current renderings will drastically change: more buildings will be added, such as the "Miss Brooklyn Tower" at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic, which, in Frank Gehry's scrapped design, was a gateway to the rest of the project. Other open plazas in the current rendering could become residential towers, but all of this is contingent on the economy.

Brownstoner, Closing Bell: DDDB's Letter to SHoP

The gist of the letter is that SHoP, by accepting the Barclays Center commission, is also attaching the firm's reputation to the Atlantic Yards and condoning the actions of Forest City Ratner: "We think that as responsible professionals, you must be aware that your designs are being used in an attempt to mask the political, planning, economic and aesthetic failures of Forest City Ratner's corrupt Atlantic Yards development proposal ... On these grounds, we urge you to reconsider your involvement. And we will be pleased to meet with you and discuss these issues."

Brit in Brooklyn, Atlantic Yards Arena: New Design in Context

NetsAreScorching, NETS ON THE NET: 9/15/09 EDITION

Posted by eric at September 16, 2009 12:13 PM