|Not the current plan. This is the 2003 plan.|
There's still much we don't know--including potentially significant impacts during construction, which will be unexamined--but I'll try to fill in some gaps.
What are they planning?
Well, Forest City Ratner hasn't announced anything official, but the Executive Summary of the Draft Supplementary Impact Statement issued by Empire State Development revealed:
...the project sponsors are considering the construction and installation of a green roof on Barclays Center as a new sustainable feature of the Arena. If installed, it would consist of the construction of a secondary roof with a structural system to hold a green sedum tray system very similar to the sedum roof at the transit entrance in front of the Arena. It is expected to cover most of the roof and would consist of approximately 130,000 square feet of sedum, making it one of the largest green roofs in New York City. It is expected that installation of this Phase I component would commence in 2014.big honking logo for the Barclays Center?
Sure. But we shouldn't let the news get framed simply as an esthetic, green upgrade.
We should recognize the previous, un-kept promises for the arena roof, the failure of the state to oversee Forest City's plans for the roof, and the likely multiple agendas behind this new roof, notably a fix to contain the escaping bass that periodically plagues the neighborhood.
What were the promises?
Well, here's the original December 2003 public relations statement regarding the roof:
The roof of the Arena offers an exciting opportunity to create new public space, with 52,000 square feet in four lushly landscaped areas for passive recreation and a promenade along the outside edge of the roof with outstanding panoramic vistas facing Manhattan. For active recreation, an outdoor ice-skating rink connects the four gardens; in warmer months the rink will become a running track. The open space not only provides a destination for community residents as well as for the workers in the office buildings--it also allows the commercial buildings surrounding the arena to be connected at the sky-lobby level.
Herbert Muschamp, the architecture critic of the New York Times, was giddy. He wrote 12/11/03:
Instead of sitting isolated in a parking lot, the stadium will be tucked into the urban fabric, just as buildings surround a Baroque square. The arena becomes a stage, with the towers around extending the bleachers to the sky. Here, the stage will be activated by a running track around the perimeter of the arena's roof. In winter, the track becomes a skating rink. Other areas of the roof will be set aside for passive recreation. Restaurants for the surrounding towers are planned at the arena's roof level.What happened?
By September 2005, the Draft Scope of Analysis for an Environmental Impact Statement was issued by Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC, now ESD), the state agency overseeing/shepherding Atlantic Yards. It stated that the open space would no longer be open to the public:
This rooftop open space would be accessible to users of the buildings constructed as part of the proposed project.
|A 2006 mock-up of green roof (top)|
A 2008 rendering of a metal roof (bottom)
In addition, approximately one acre of private open space intended for use by the project site tenants would be built on a portion of the roof of the proposed arena.... This green space would be designed with detention and retention basins to limit the amount of runoff that flows directly into the City’s water drainage system (see Chapter 11, “Infrastructure,” for discussion of green design features).
Olin plans to crown the new basketball arena with a green roof and to capture almost all of the parcel’s storm water runoff—which currently exacerbates flooding on the nearby Gowanus Canal—for reuse in irrigation, cleaning, and gray-water plumbing.
|Graphic from DDDB, 2008|
"They said, in a way, that the soil doesn't really absorb that much water in the first place," Schuerman suggested, "but I'm sure there will be some sort of minor environmental impacts, less clean air, for example, because there are not quite as many trees."
In 2009, after new public hearings, Empire State Development approved a revised project, with the arena decoupled from the towers, a cost-saving move for Forest City.
Forest City soon brought on SHoP to produce a new facade for the arena (and later to design the arena plaza and the first residential building). At a September 2009 public information session, just before the project was officially approved, there was nothing on the roof, as indicated in the photo below.
|Photo by Tracy Collins|
How did Barclays get its logo on the roof?
I speculate, but when Barclays in 2007 bought naming rights to a green-roof arena, it was paying for a Frank Gehry model. It later renegotiated the price down; perhaps the rooftop signage came in exchange for the delay and the loss of Gehry. But it's unclear how long that commitment was supposed to last.
When did clues emerge?
The new and apparently final design of the rooftop signage (right) appeared in images of the arena plaza released in September 2010, as well a new Atlantic Yards website that debuted in February 2011.
Well, the arena became famous pretty quickly, and helicopter views certainly portray the logo. The state gets no revenue from the rooftop signage. (The arena is nominally owned by the state, for the purpose of issuing tax-exempt bonds. The state gave away arena naming rights, which were never counted as a subsidy, or in a cost-benefit analysis.)
Yes, in renderings of the arena, part of the November 2011 release of images of modular construction, portrayed the roof as brown at night (below), with no obvious signage.
Well, the green roof likely helps solve several problems. It makes the roof look more attractive to the residents of the towers being built next to the arena.