Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Critic on Newark arena: "mostly what it is is marketing"

In his review of the spiffy new Prudential Center in the 10/22/07 Newark Star-Ledger, headlined An arena for TV fans, Dan Bischoff suggests that it might be a very enjoyable place to see an event, but he doesn't lose sight of the bottom line:
The brand-new Prudential Center, the hockey/soccer/college basketball/rock concert arena on Lafayette and Mulberry in downtown Newark, is many things. It's a food court, a sports bar, an art gallery... and a glass-fronted vantage point overlooking the huddled hectares of parking lots behind City Hall.

But mostly what it is is marketing. And in honor of that purpose, the dominant architectural motif is television.


He cites the 4,800-square-foot LED monitor in front of the arena's main window, and "733 plasma flat-screen TVs scattered about the place," helping patrons keep track of action and also order food and drink from touch screens. (Rendering from official site.)

And at AY

Could the planned Atlantic Yards arena (aka Barclays Center) be any less about marketing, given the Nets' branding juggernaut and the plans for Times Square-like signage? We're not in (Brooklyn) Dodgerland any more.

"This is more of a residential district. This would not be Times Square," architect Frank Gehry told the Daily News in May. "The question was how do you create activity at game time and have it disappear."

Remember, he said last April:
It's obvious that buildings are becoming billboards, all around the world....[re AY] And it can be used for community issues, as well as advertising. It has a social function, if it's played right, it can be used for art...

We'll see.

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