Barclays Center Architectural Review Says "Black-Box Vibe" Distinguishes It From MSG
In an architectural review of the new Barclays Center, which hosts its first regular-season NBA game Saturday night, the N.Y. TIMES' Michael Kimmelman writes, "At first blush, it's a shocker, which is one of its virtues." The arena's "rusted, reddish-brown exterior consists of 12,000 grainy weathered-steel panels." The panels "swoop and curl lengthwise around the building, ancient chains binding a giant Gulliver." They leave "openings here and there for ribbons of windows that provide peekaboo views out from and into the interior." Crowd circulation "is smooth, and the steeply raked seats, accommodating up to 18,000 fans, provide excellent sightlines for basketball, even from the nosebleed sections." The "black-box vibe, with its gray-and-eggplant palette and terrazzo concourse, distinguishes it from Madison Square Garden, exuding a sophisticated chill, warmed by an eager, Disney-trained staff." The fact that the center, "like every other sports arena, serves both inside and out as a giant billboard for corporate naming opportunities deserves mention because naming rights and other financial gains from the arena should be factored into the subsidized housing equation that remains one of the major obligations" made by developer and Nets investor Bruce Ratner. This is not a "beautiful or ingratiating building, but it’s technologically smart, with an underground turntable for trucks that may sound eye-rollingly dull but makes traffic engineers like the city’s transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, swoon because it reduces the number of backing up and double-parked 16-wheelers on nearby streets like Dean." Barclays Center architecture firm SHoP has "also spared Brooklyn another retro stadium." The architects have "created something tougher, more textured and compelling, an anti-Manhattan monument, not clad in glass or titanium but muscular and progressive like its borough." Kimmelman: "What’s clear now is that Barclays makes the Garden the second-best arena in town, which is to say even worse than we already thought it was" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/1).