SBD/Issue 181/Facilities & Venues

Impact Of Gehry's Departure From Atlantic Yards Project Debated

Gehry's Departure From
Arena Project Debated
Architect Frank Gehry's departure from the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn is "not just a blow to the art of architecture," it is a "shameful betrayal of the public trust," according to N.Y. TIMES architect critic Nicolai Ouroussoff. Gehry's arena complex, in which the Nets' Barclays Center "was embedded in a matrix of towers resembling falling shards of glass, was a striking addition to the Brooklyn skyline; it was also a fervent effort to engage the life of the city below." A new design by Ellerbe Becket has "no such ambitions." A "colossal, spiritless box, it would fit more comfortable in a cornfield than at one of the busiest intersections of a vibrant metropolis." Its "low-budget, no-frills design embodies the crass, bottom-line mentality that puts personal profit above the public good." If it is "ever built, it will create a black hole in the heart of a vital neighborhood" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/9).  

BEST FOR THE PROJECT: N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg Friday on his radio show indicated that "scrapping a costly sports arena design will help ensure that construction of the long-delayed Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn could soon begin." Bloomberg said that the move "bodes well for the project." Bloomberg said Nets and Forest City Ratner Owner Bruce Ratner "came to the conclusion ... that in this day and age you just cannot finance something as complex to build as that stadium." On Long Island, Michael Frazier noted the new design for Barclays Center "will be unveiled in late June" (NEWSDAY, 6/6). In N.Y., Calder & Seifman wrote now that Gehry is not involved with the project, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is "flip-flopping and claiming it's for the best." Markowitz, a longtime supporter of Gehry's design, said that he "now believes Gehry's glass-and-steel design was 'too ultramodern.'" Markowitz: "I think the new design is actually better for Brooklyn" (N.Y. POST, 6/6).

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