The New Yorker‘s Paul Goldberger is out with the latest take on the Barclays Center, the centerpiece of the Atlantic Yards project. Mr. Golberger shows genuine appreciation for the new designs, but the piece is practically reverential compared to the faint praise from the Times, and a nasty review in New York. Mr. Goldberger is also the first critic to suggest that the new renderings, by the Manhattan firm SHoP, are in the same league as the original Frank Gehry design.
The results are good enough to take the architectural argument against the project off the table. Maybe it’s as good as Gehry’s building. The new one certainly seems to try less hard; it’s more relaxed than Gehry’s project.
But Mr. Goldberger thinks Bruce Ratner should take a few things off the table—as in, everything but the centerpiece.
The rest of Atlantic Yards still remains—too big, and too indifferent to the fabric of residential Brooklyn, which it abuts. This is a mega-project that looks less and less convincing as the months go on. The arena was predicated on the presence of blocks and blocks and blocks of apartment towers, but the city would be better off if Ratner could simply build the arena and leave it at that.
That’s an unusual perspective, as affordable housing has always been a justification for the project.