Tuesday, August 28, 2012

AY down the memory hole: emergency upgrade on Barclays Center facade treated in Times as "more traditional materials were rejected"

The New York Times reported, in  Constructing a Facade Both Rugged and Rusty:
For the facade of the Barclays Center, more traditional materials were rejected in favor of 12,000 separate pieces of what is called “weathering steel,” and that leathery brown hue, which is the arena’s final finish, is not paint but an intended layer of rust.
It was a little more complicated than that. After Forest City Ratner dropped Frank Gehry's design to save money, it essentially plunked the Conseco Fieldhouse from Indianapolis, designed by veteran arena architects Ellerbe Becket, into Brooklyn.

The reclamation job

Reported Engineereing News-Record, in an article published 7/16/12 and headlined Reshaping of Barclays Center Arena Made Possible By Collaboration, Digital Tools:
[Developer Bruce] Ratner wanted SHoP to put a better face on a critically panned redesign for his $825-million Barclays Center arena—the centerpiece of the 22-acre transit-oriented development. And he wanted a sketch from SHoP in only five days.
The offer was loaded with other challenges and sensitivities. Ratner had knocked on SHoP's door precisely because he was under pressure to improve the arena's architecture....
So instead of relaxing over that July 4 weekend, four SHoP partners huddled to come up with some ideas. On Monday, July 6, SHoP showed Ratner a sketch of an arena contoured by a latticework system of pre-weathered steel panels.
The importance of memory

The more people forget, the more they'll prove Ratner's statement to New York Magazine:
One hundred years from now, “Brooklyn is going to be an epicenter of this country, and this place will be at the middle of that. No one will care what we had to do to make it happen.”
Of course no one will care in 100 years--the Barclays Center, or whatever name the arena has, won't exist. Neither, most likely, will the housing. But Ratner's statement was surely also aimed at the present.

And judging by the comments on the Times article, many people do remember not only what Forest City Ratner "had to do" but also what it promised. Here's one:
I actually like the architecture - but that's totally beside the point.

The problem is that the developers & wealthy sponsors of this project - & their political cronies - have imposed it on a community, steamrolling over that community's protests as if by an invading army.

The perpetrators and advocates of this center don't have to live with the impact. And they've broken all the promises of affordable housing, jobs, etc. But I guess We The People are just bugs to the 1% - that they can stomp on without a qualm!
And that's why the Times's shorthand regarding the arena--"years of bickering"--is also inadequate, as I pointed out yesterday.

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