Thursday, June 04, 2009

Missing from the arena block: the much-touted Urban Room

So, what's missing from the new renderings of the arena block by Ellerbe Becket released today, along with news that Frank Gehry is gone?

Oh, how about two of the four buildings on the arena block, including the office tower known as Building 1 (which, though no longer "Miss Brooklyn, " had become "very special to me," Gehry said last year) and the much-touted Urban Room, a large, glass-enclosed public space.

The Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), while calling the Urban Room (below) "a significant public amenity" in the General Project Plan it approved 12/8/06, some ten months later, in the State Funding Agreement, required developer Forest City Ratner only to provide "subway station access" to the arena, not the Urban Room "destination" (a term from the Final Environmental Impact Statement, or FEIS) that wowed some architecture critics.

Remember, ESDC CEO Marisa Lago said just last Friday that nothing in the General Project Plan had changed.

Buildings only to the east

The rendering at top is deceptive in perspective, I believe. Look at how the trees in the foreground look almost as tall as the arena, which, if it follows Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, would be 170 feet tall.

The rendering above shows a view looking east from Atlantic Avenue, portraying the arena on a strict north-south axis with a building at the northeast corner and an unspecified configuration of buildings toward the southeast. 

Yes, it looks like there might be two towers, but I doubt there's enough room for two towers, unless one is across Sixth Avenue to the east.

Why close Fifth Avenue?

Originally, Fifth Avenue was to be closed because a massive, revenue-generating skyscraper would be built above it. Now, there's reason to think that there's no need to close Fifth Avenue--unless of course, the state wants to hold out the land for Forest City Ratner.

Apparently the plaza west of the arena would serve the arena as interim open space--depending on city property.

Like Indianapolis, not Brooklyn

The rendering suggests a building much like Conseco Fieldhouse (right) in Indianapolis, which itself was modeled after Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler University in Indianapolis.

It turns out that, after Gehry spent so much time trying to get to know Brooklyn, the arena destined for Brooklyn would come secondhand from Indiana.

3 comments:

  1. If the view is looking east in the new rendering, then something is wrong with the rendering or Mother Nature.

    It appears that the shadows are being cast to the right in the image, which would imply that the sun is to the left. But if the view is to the east, then the sun would have to be to the *north* to cast these shadows.

    As Brooklyn is in the northern hemisphere (I don't think Ratner can change that), the sun should be in the south, to the right in the image, and the shadows should fall to the left.

    Of course, if the view in the image is to the west, then I'm wrong and the shadows are right.

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  2. Following up on my previous comment, the rendering could be correct if one assumes that the view is of Flatbush Ave and not Atlantic, and the view is to the northwest up Flatbush.

    If so, then the arena would be oriented along a southwest/northeast axis, perpendicular to Flatbush, and the sun would be setting in the west in the rendering.

    I guess we'll have to wait for the "final" renderings to figure this out.

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  3. That's not Flatbush. It's Atlantic. The arena goes north-south.

    I'm not sure that Ellerbe Becket was thinking about shadows.

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