It has been over fifty years since Jane Jacobs' book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, revolutionized discourse on urban planning, and her words still carry a huge influence today. But in the intervening decades New York City has changed in ways Jacobs could never have imagined when she was writing in the 1960s. In a recent article for City Journal, Judith Miller tries to imagine how Jane Jacobs would have responded to some of New York City's recent projects - taking as examples the imminent domain actions and tax breaks that made Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards (now also known as Pacific Park) possible, the cluster of skyscrapers and public venues planned for Hudson Yards on the west side of Manhattan, and the supertall luxury condo towers that are beginning to cast their long shadows over Central Park. Read Miller's article in full here.
The saga of the long-awaited housing component in SHoP Architects' Atlantic Yards masterplan in Brooklyn took a dramatic turn this week, as contractor Skanska USA decided to halt all construction on the B2 BKLYN project, the first of 14 planned apartment buildings at the site. The decision is the result of a long-running dispute between Skanska and the developer Forest City Ratner (FCR) over the slow pace of construction, with only 10 of the building's 32 stories constructed so far - despite the project's initial deadline having passed three months ago.
The project was lauded before construction began in 2012 for its plan to use a system of fast and cheap modular construction. However Skanska claims that the design of this system, which was developed by SHoP Architects in collaboration with Arup, was flawed. With both the contractor and developer claiming that the other is to blame for cost overruns into the tens of millions of dollars, Richard Kennedy of Skanska told the New York Times that they "came to the decision to stop work on the project until our significant commercial issues are resolved."
More on the dispute after the break
We have been keeping close watch on the progress of Barclays Center, SHoP’s 650,000+ stadium for Brooklyn at Atlantic Yards. The project has an interesting history as the client, Bruce Ratner, originally looked to Gehry to design an urban solution and iconic image for the 22 acre site, prior to teaming with Ellerbe Becket and SHoP. As we’ve reported earlier, SHoP’s response has developed to become a sweeping pre-fabricated volume, with a perforated latticework steel skin and a transparent ground level. Photographer Roger Edwards has shared some recent photos with us of the construction process as the building is quickly beginning to take shape.
Check out more photos after the break.