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January 30, 2011

When was Ellerbe Becket on board? Article suggests arena architect switch began in November 2008, well before June 2009 announcement

Atlantic Yards Report

When exactly did architect Frank Gehry get bounced from the Atlantic Yards arena and project?

The replacement firm, the veteran arena designers Ellerbe Becket (later to be assisted by facade architect SHoP), didn't emerge until 5/27/09, while the official statement that Gehry was gone came on 6/4/09.

However, a trade publication article that I (and others) missed suggests that the relationship had been severed as of November 2008, a time when Ellerbe Becket, according to another report, was said to simply have begun advising Forest City Ratner.

...

Here's the new evidence. In a 9/30/09 article headlined Barclays Center: Firms Large and Small(er) Come Together Around Performative Design, AIArchitect reported:

Last November Ellerbe Becket (whose sports design practice is in Kansas City, Mo.) began working with Forest City Ratner on a less expensive design. In June, SHoP began working with Ellerbe Becket on the project, and the two firms released a final design in September, which Forest City Ratner is raising $700 million to build.

(Emphasis added)

The phrase "working... on a less expensive design" is not the same as (in the Daily News's words) "reevaluate the extravagant arena design Gehry conceived."

Ellerbe Becket and SHoP

The AIArchitect article ignores the sequence by which SHoP was hired. After generic Ellerbe Becket designs emerged (allegedly leaked by City Planning Commission Chair Amanda Burden), New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff in June 2009 called it a "shameful betrayal of the public trust."

link

Posted by steve at January 30, 2011 9:46 AM