Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Posterior Protuberance Of the Ratner/Prokhorov Barclays (LIBOR) Center Not Indicated On Model Submitted To Sell Arena To Public

Noticing New York earlier covered how, when a model of the forthcoming Ratner/Prokhorov Barclays (LIBOR) Center was on display at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall and being presented by its architects in September of 2009, the model and information being given out did not disclose that the now infamous name and logo of Barclays Bank would be placed on the roof, advertising the bank’s brand (and supposed respectability) to all those citizens in helicopters, airplanes and nearby tall buildings (or taking pictures from them).  Also not unveiled, despite public inquiry, were the animated lighting schemes: the advertising “oculus,” the rooftop laser lights, and the flashing colored lights of the weathering steel grid.  (See: Wednesday, August 15, 2012, With Discordant Synchronicity The “Barclays” Center Will Open At LIBOR Scandal’s Peak: What The New York Times Is And Isn’t Covering.)

Here is one other thing the model publicly on display and presented by architects to sell the building to the public depicted as not being part of what would ultimately be built (and which now has been built): A posterior protuberance.  It’s square and blandly uninspired, perfunctory in the extreme, nothing in the least worth praising architecturally.

You can well imagine why it wasn’t included as part of the sleek design and image the architects wanted to sell to the public at the time. . .

. . .  But, since it is at the back of the building (where, at the moment, you only see what’s left of the forgotten community of original residents the developer is turning his back on) we might now presume it to be believed that what’s actually built doesn’t actually matter.

Pictures below:
Posterior protuberance the weekend of Jay-Z's opening concert
Posterior protuberance with "art wall" leading up to it in the forground
Here is what the public was shown that the building’s posterior was supposed to look like:
Model on display in Borough Hall, September 2009
September 2009- Sleek, no posterior protrusion
It may be that the protuberance at the back of the building matters less for another reason: Maybe someday the residential buildings that Forest City Ratner says will someday be built around the arena, actually will be, in which case, much of what is around the building now may disappear, in some way subsumed into that eventual reconfiguration.   The protuberance may disappear and I have pointed out (first in September of 2009) that I expect that much of the weathering steel wreath that decorates the original, underlying airplane hanger design of the arena will also disappear.

I got a chance to ask about how much of the wreath’s decoration might succumb to future reconfigurations when the SHoP architects (Gregg Pasquarelli and Chris Sharples) were on Brian Lehrer Tuesday.

Their answer, perhaps fudged, to my phoned-in query was that none of the wreath would wind up being dismantled because the new buildings would wind up being just a “backdrop” to a changing composition, since, unlike the original Gehry design, the buildings won’t be part of an integrated single design.  I posted a follow up comment on the show page saying that I believe that if the other buildings are ever built on the block they will abut and that means that you won’t see as much of the weathering steel wreath that was added to the original design and that much of the wreath may have to be taken down.  If the buildings don’t actually abut they are likely to wind up being so very close that it will amount to nearly the same thing.

While we are on the subject of whether renderings give a clue: Was the dominance of the advertising oculus fairly foreshadowed by what the architects presented?  See below. 
September 2009 model
Original rendering
Day-to-day reality of the advertising oculus
Other Noticing New York articles have previously covered the deceptiveness of architectural renderings and models.  See: Friday, September 26, 2008, Weighing Scale and Thursday, September 10, 2009, The Surrounding Light Smears Ratner’s Atlantic Yards Arena.

Atlantic Yards Report recently addressed the subject of how the SHoP Architects renderings made the arena appear smaller in comparison to neighboring buildings than an actual attempted panoramic recreation of their pictures show it in fact to be.  See: Wednesday, September 05, 2012, Unbuilt towers and a hovercraft perspective: what's wrong with common Barclays Center rendering (plus an accurate panorama from Tracy Collins).

Does anyone know where architects rank in terms of trusted professions amongst, politicians, newsmen and real estate brokers?  Where would you rank them?

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