This morning, Norman Oder, the thorn in the side of developer Forest City Ratner who runs the Atlantic Yards Report blog, put up a post noting that the landscape architect for the more than $4 billion Brooklyn project had suddenly begun referring to his Atlantic Yards work in the past tense on his Web site.
The apparent reason, concluded by Mr. Oder: Laurie Olin is off the project.
In response, Forest City suggested that Mr. Olin is just on sabbatical. The open space of Mr. Olin’s is not a part of Phase 1, which includes a basketball arena and housing towers.
Forest City’s statement, via spokesman Joe DePlasco:
“Laurie Olin has been involved from the beginning of the design process and he will be involved in the end. The eight acres of open space will be built as part of Phase 2 of the project, which has always been the case. Mr. Olin has completed preliminary work on that and will be involved going forward.”
Then again, when The Observer sat down with Mr. Olin back in February 2007, the Philadelphia-based architect wasn’t restricting his work to the second phase, and was doing work only on the first phase at the time, relating to the arena and its roof. From the article:
“The design is far from finished, and the east end, where the superblock lies, is particularly rough. Mr. Olin admits that the site plan was put together to establish the parameters of the project-the ratio of open to built space-to go through the approval process. Now he and Mr. Gehry are focusing on just one building: the basketball arena on the far western edge of the site, which will be surrounded by skyscrapers.”