Bro-chitecture: The Barclay’s Arena by SHoP Architects

The Barclays Center in Brooklyn by SHoP Architects

The Barclays Center in Brooklyn by SHoP Architects

The Superbowl is happening this Sunday.  There are different reasons to be excited–  the game, the commercials, the halftime show- and all of the action will center around a uniquely designed stadium, just not the one above.  I thought for the week of the Superbowl, we could look at buildings that are decidedly macho, and the first is the new(ish) Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.

The center is not just a sports arena, it’s also a concert venue, a subway stop and the first part of a nearly 5 billion dollar development project in Brooklyn. The most distinctive feature of the new arena is probably the thousands of corten steel puzzle pieces that make up the skin of the building. Each rusty piece is unique, a building feat made possible by advances in building software and fabrication tools. And what could be a more macho greeting than a giant steel cantilever? It’s like a big, rusty hug from SHoP Architects to Brooklyn.  But some folks wonder what kind of the future the project is embracing.

Two of the better write ups about the new project are from the New York Times, and the New Yorker. Both mention the giant, rusty cantilever (Kimmelman writing for the NYT likens it to a “solar flare”) but both articles are more interested in the project as a leader in the redevelopment of the site. It reads like a game between the developer and pedestrians, but if either one loses, so will the other. It’s not that impossible, it’s just a slow and excruciating game of political football where I don’t know the rules. I barely know the rules of actual football, anyway. So this weekend I look forward to eating pizza and having a cold beer surrounded by friends I care about cheering and jeering for something I don’t care about.  There’s a longer, more important, and an astonishingly more expensive game taking place in Brooklyn.

The kickoff looks impressive.