Tuesday , Jun , 09 , 2009 C.Y. Ellis

NY Times Criticizes Planned Brooklyn Arena

A massive vaulted shed that rests on a masonry base, the arena is as glamorous as a storage warehouse. A rectangular window overlooks Atlantic, but without the other buildings it lacks the sense of mystery and surprise that was such an essential part of the Gehry design. A trapezoidal brick and glass box at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush is obviously intended as an echo of Gehry’s public space. But Gehry’s room, several stories tall, soared over the intersection. Ellerbe Becket’s, lower to the ground, just sits there, adding nothing.

Building this monstrosity at such a critical urban intersection would be deadly. Clearly, the city would be better off with nothing. But what’s at issue here is more than the betrayal of a particular community, as tragic as that could be. It is the way the city makes decisions about large-sale development.