After dropping famed architect Frank Gehry from the Nets basketball arena planned for Brooklyn, the developer of the massive mixed-use project has brought in New York-based architecture firm SHoP to assist in the design of the venue, according to a person informed of the decision.
The developer, Forest City Ratner, plans to unveil renderings of the $800 million arena later this month.
The choice seems a face-saving move for Forest City, as a substantial backlash from public officials and the press followed its decision to drop Mr. Gehry in the name of cost.
While certainly not the starchitect that is Mr. Gehry, SHoP is something of the hot local architectural firm these days—a relatively young practice that designs often iconic buildings with highly distinctive exteriors and skins. Last year the would-be developers of a new South Street Seaport tapped SHoP to design a remake of the area, and the Bloomberg administration turned to SHoP to design its new East River waterfront esplanade.
The design of the arena is expected to be a collaboration between SHoP and arena and institutional design specialists Ellerbe Becket. While Forest City declined to comment, presumably the bulk of the design and engineering work will fall to Ellerbe (SHoP has no experience building large arenas), particularly given that Forest City has acknowledged Ellerbe Becket’s involvement for months, though the developer has made no mention of SHoP.