Just when you think you know the sordid tale that is “Development in New York,” a new chapter is published leaving the readers agog.
Will the Atlantic Yards follow the age-old tradition we’ve come accustomed to in this city? (Grand plans. Public outcry. Well-intentioned Grander Plans. Budget restraints. Media overload. Stakeholder input. Design by Committee. Value Engineering. Forgettable Civic Construction. Mini-mall.) Mapos certainly hopes not, but it’s off to a familiar start. Ratner hired Gehry. The public was up in arms (and still is). Budget realities came crashing down. Gehry re-designed and downsized and disappeared. Ellerbe Becket plunked a functional-and-cheap-box in its place. More outcry. And now iteration #73 is on the boards. All of Brooklyn and New York should hope, and expect, for the saga to end here and all of us can ride into the sunset.
It was announced yesterday that SHoP has partnered with Ellerbe Becket to give their banal box a fancy dress. Of course, we all know that good design can be a stooge for rampant development, and it should be! Design matters and it can also show the citizens in this fair city how buildings can make a difference. Integrated outdoor public space. Inventive use of materials. Contextual links to the historic rail yards. Sustainable measures to reduce energy use. And a postcard perfect image for Brooklyn branding to boot. SHoP has quickly become New York’s coolest firm with the coolest projects with the know-how to get things built. Let’s get shovels in the ground so the Nimbys at “Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn” learn that “develop” and “destroy” are not antonyms.