SBD/Issue 244/Facilities & Venues

First Images Of Revamped Barclays Center Design Released

SHoP Architects Working With Ellerbe
Becket To Develop Barclays Center
Forest City Ratner, parent firm of the Nets, confirmed today that Manhattan design firm SHoP Architects is working with Ellerbe Becket to develop Barclays Center in Brooklyn. FCR also released images of the building's exterior, the first official images released since architect Frank Gehry parted ways with the project. The images bear little resemblance to an image that was leaked to the N.Y. Times in June and drew criticism from the newspaper's architecture critic. SHoP is collaborating with Ellerbe's K.C.-based sports practice on every aspect of arena design, said SHoP founding principal Gregg Pasquarelli. The firm has limited sports design experience. SHoP has worked on another NBA arena project still in development, but Pasquarelli declined to identify the team. In addition, SHoP designed adidas' HQs in Beijing for the '08 Olympics. SHoP was hired sometime in June, team officials said. On June 9, the N.Y. Times published a preliminary image of the arena's exterior that the Nets and Ellerbe say did not come from them. The Times heavily criticized the rendering as a poor substitute for what former Barclays Center designer Gehry had planned for the project. The team would not say whether SHoP was hired after the image was published.

COMPLETELY DIFFERENT LOOK: Three months later, the Barclays Center exterior looks nothing like that initial drawing. It contains three rust-colored horizontal steel bands that curve and swoop around the building, creating a cantilevered structure 30 feet high and 80 feet long, Pasquarelli said. The arena's glass walls enable pedestrians walking the plaza outside the arena and motorists driving along Flatbush and Atlantic streets to peer into the seating bowl and see the center-hung scoreboard. It is a transparent look Nets Owner Bruce Ratner desired for the building, Pasquarelli said. In addition, the design team plans to use new lighting technologies to illuminate the arena's interior and exterior, creating a halo effect at night. "We will be looking at cutting-edge LED and sustainable strategies for power consumption," he said. The scaled-down project stands at about $800M, about $200M less than Gehry's plan. FCR fired Gehry late last year after Ratner determined his design was too costly to finance in a distressed economy.

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