Gehry, Gehry Everywhere…

Gehry at Night.jpg
A little night music frozen in time

The big Forest City Ratner high-security press conference today produced little news but lots of images: fewer crooked buildings and more straight lines, more titanium siding and less Las Vegas. This is all about how it looks, so take a peek inside.

By comparison to the latest version above, here’s a shot of last year’s model that led a Brooklynite to ask the Daily News, “Why is it crooked?”

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The Crooklyn of one year past

The most iconic building in the 16-tower complex is the Miss Brooklyn, at 620 feet tall (650 with mechanicals). Gehry said that when he transported the model via airplane from Los Angeles to New York he had to give it a name so it could get its own seat. He likens the tower to an actual Brooklyn bride he saw walking around one day. “She’s a bride,” he said of the tower, “with her flowing bridal veil–I really overdid it. If you had seen the bride you would–I fell in love with her.” The tower to the right is her husband, and the second shiny one to the left is the man she will have an affair with, according to Gehry. Developer Bruce Ratner must really love having an architect who designs unfaithful buildings and tells the press about it!

Here is the bride at its most flattering angle, with the Williamsburgh Savings Bank tower (512 feet tall) in the lower left hand corner (given what’s on that tower’s top, maybe he’s the one she will run off with!):

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The big fat Gehry wedding

Gehry said that he and his team spent a lot of time studying Brooklyn and its “body language,” in order to make the complex fit in, and also how his children live or have lived in Brooklyn. Then what exactly does he think of Brooklyn? “I like it…. It’s a very friendly city. It has a different sense of scale. It’s got a fabulous street life. It’s got an ethnic mix that seems to coexist.”

That different sense of scale, of course, is a lot smaller than the type of bulding he has been commissioned to design here. He does make a few token gestures to fit into the borough, however, but they definitely are tokens. The main one is the “largest stoop in Brooklyn” at the point of Atlantic and Flatbush, in front of the arena. One is supposed to be able to see through the lobby and a large window into the arena and make out the scoreboard from this angle (provided someone is not standing in front of you):

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Stooping to conquer

The complex will have seven acres of publicly accessible open space, but it will be inside the interior courtyards formed by Gehry’s buildings and dwarfed by their height. Laurie Olin, the landscape designer, discounted the idea that hiding the open space would keep New Yorkers from using it. “I don’t think one has to draw people into open space in New York City. They will find it.” The swamp and pool will collect stormwater and reduce runoff.

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Inside Superblock A

Whether the complex will fit into the surrounding neighborhood of three- and four-story brownstones is very much in the eye of the beholder–and the angle of the camera. Here is Forest City’s take on the view north from Carlton and Park Place, with trees in full bloom. (This is a better view of building No. 7, the paramour.)

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Welcome to the neighborhood!

Here is a similar view, just three blocks closer, imagined by onNYTurf, a website critical of the project. (It’s based on specs from the project that have since been slimmed down a bit.)

Gehry OnNyTurf.jpg
Now get out!

Finally, the real reason to root for Ratner. Isn’t that the Starbucks logo there on the left?

Gehry Starbucks.jpg
Brooklyn body-language is like Seattle body-language

CORRECTION: An earlier version said the onNYTurf simulation was from one block north of Park. It is from Bergen, which is three (short) blocks.