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Demise of Gehry Design for Nets Arena Is Blow to Brooklyn

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The New Jersey Nets were supposed to have moved into a new stadium in Brooklyn by now, but there have a myriad of problems relocating the team from New Jersey. Now the stadium itself has been down-sized.

Hoops from Yesteryear

As Nicolai Ouroussoff writes:

Whatever you may have felt about Mr. Gehry’s design — too big, too flamboyant — there is little doubt that it was thoughtful architecture. His arena complex, in which the stadium was embedded in a matrix of towers resembling falling shards of glass, was a striking addition to the Brooklyn skyline; it was also a fervent effort to engage the life of the city below.

A new design by the firm Ellerbe Becket has no such ambitions. A colossal, spiritless box, it would fit more comfortably in a cornfield than at one of the busiest intersections of a vibrant metropolis. Its low-budget, no-frills design embodies the crass, bottom-line mentality that puts personal profit above the public good. If it is ever built, it will create a black hole in the heart of a vital neighborhood.

[Click to continue reading Architecture – Demise of Gehry Design for Nets Arena Is Blow to Brooklyn – NYTimes.com]

Sport stadiums, and the financing of them, is one of the most puzzling and irritating aspects of US corporate welfare. Take Yankee Stadium, for instance…

One more quote from Mr. Ouroussoff’s piece:

Typically, a developer comes to the city with big plans. Promises are made. Serious architects are brought in. The needs of the community, like ample parkland and affordable housing, are taken into account. Editorial boards and critics, like me, praise the design for its ambition.

Eventually, the project takes on a momentum of its own. The city and state, afraid of an embarrassing public failure, feel pressured to get the project done at any cost, and begin to make concessions. Given the time such developments take to build, sometimes a decade or more, we then hit the inevitable economic downturn. The developer pleads poverty. Desperate to avoid more economic bad news, government officials cut a deal.

It’s a familiar ending, made more nauseating because we have seen it so many times before

Familiar, and sad. If owners of sports teams cannot afford to build a stadium for their team(s), perhaps they should be sold to the city that houses most of the team’s fans? End the public financing/private profit bullshit, in other words. In the New Jersey/New York plan, not only does the public pay for the stadium, but the stadium has no character and will probably destroy a vibrant neighborhood. Ever been past a million dollar condo near Chicago’s United Center? No, me either.

Written by Seth Anderson

June 10th, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Posted in Sports

Tagged with , , ,

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