Have you had enough of the Barclays Center yet? Two heavy-hitting architectural critics have taken on the Barclays Center, which in case you didn’t hear, officially opened Friday. Justin Davidson wrote for New York Magazine and Alexandra Lange for The New Yorker. Davidson calls it a “great, tough-hided beast of a building” and “an architectural chest bump,” a building with “texture, color and personality — rare qualities in recent New York construction.” As for the interior: “darkly chic and startlingly intimate.” He speaks fondly of the oft-talked-about rusted facade and shares this sentiment: “We’re still not done converting the backlog of ancient factories and disused power plants into condos and museums, and already we’re creating para-ruins, buildings that seem recycled even when they’re new.”
Over at the New Yorker, Lange is a little less poetic and a little more critical of the development plans. She says the stadium creates its own context, “A bolder, gutsier, lunar context that suggests not that the arena is too big, but that the neighborhood is too small. What would make the arena fit is towers — towers like the sixteen buildings approved, over a twenty-five-year period, for the eastern stretch of the site. Do I want those towers to be built now, just to make the arena work?” (Forest City Ratner will break ground on the residential development Dec. 18.) Lange makes a very interesting comparison to development in Brooklyn Bridge Park, and how the future residential component at BBP will reflect the already-opened public park land. She wonders how a stadium would look if the promised parkland at Atlantic Yards, or the housing, came first. She closes: “There will be no unbuilding, but there can be lessons learned from the Barclays Center about urban planning. It is not only zoning and liquor licenses, or community-benefits agreements and affordable-housing set-asides, or parking and traffic that need to determine new developments. It’s the order of buildings. What comes first irrevocably changes what follows.” Thoughts?
What Comes Second: The Lesson of the Barclays Center [New Yorker]
Barclays Center Is Brooklyn’s Ready-Made Monument [NY Mag]