Bruce Ratner originally looked to Frank Gehry to design the Atlantic Yards’ basketball arena, a 22 acre development project in Brooklyn. Gehry’s scheme looked promising as the arena and surrounding buildings were carefully categorized in different zones and then reassembled to create “startling urban moments.” When Gehry was fired early in the summer and replaced by Kansas-based firm Ellerbe Becket, many were worried that the project would not be realized with the care Gehry had given it. When Becket’s original design seemed below par, Ratner quickly hired SHoP Architects to get the design back on track.
More about SHoP’s addition to the Atlantic Yards after the break.
This past week, Becket and SHoP unveiled the third version of the 675,000 sft arena. This design incorporates some of Gehry’s original ideas, like opening views from the sidewalk into the arena. SHoP’s new façade, a rust-colored skin woven out of weathered steel panels, has a certain sense of toughness that helps it fit into its surroundings. Perforated holes will make the building appear to glow at night.
The latest design consists of three separate but woven bands. The first engages the ground as the steel exterior rises and lowers to create a sense of visual transparency. The second band is made of glass that permits views from inside and outside. A third band floats around the roof varying in transparency.
In the beginning, the project, although many parts, was thought of as one big scheme. Yet to defer additional costs, Mr. Ratner divided up the design. This has worried many who feel that once the arena is built, it may be years before the rest of the project is any where near completion. Yet according to Ratner, once the arena is finished, the foundations for the residential and commercial buildings will be dug, once he is ready to start the next stage of construction. It is important for the whole design to keep progressing, for the sum is greater than the individual arena.