Thursday, August 02, 2012

Sculpture or neighbor? Driving Flatbush Avenue, "iconic" arena relieves "sordid dullness" of mall

Architectural historian Gabrielle Esperdy drives Flatbush Avenue for Urban Omnibus, in Flatbush Start to Finish:
Still, as Flatbush traversed the rest of the borough, there would be a few more opportunities for monuments of iconic architecture and infrastructure.

Notable, and most recent, in this regard is the Barclays Center, soon to be completed at the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic. Now, say what you will about Atlantic Yards as a whole, there is no denying that SHoP’s Corten steel snake will go a long way to relieving the sordid dullness of the Atlantic Terminal Mall, which has been sitting woefully at this major intersection (where the extension officially ends and Flatbush proper begins) since 2004. Best to move by quickly and set sights further down road where there’s reliable City Beautiful planning to anchor Grand Army Plaza...
It's also relieving the more sordid dullness of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Center mall, which has been next to the Atlantic Terminal site since 1996.

I imagine that, on event nights, drivers will have a lot more time to contemplate the arena, as traffic moves slowly.

Sculpture, or neighbor?

But Esperdy's take regarding the arena seems to be: not dull, even iconic.

Or, as a friend put it: "not as horrible as I expected."

Then again, an architect friend I asked thought it was in fact horrible, ticking off the arena's relationship to the street and the surrounding neighborhood.

I think that speaks to the difference between the arena as sculpture, especially for those driving by, and the arena as living entity with a very tight fit into the northwest corner of Prospect Heights.

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