The cofounder of online retail giant Alibaba is buying the Brooklyn Nets as well as their home arena, the SHoP-designed Barclays Center. The Brooklyn complex is home to the Nets as well as the NHL's New York Islanders (although that team is set to split its games between Brooklyn and Nassau County, New York before its final move to a new stadium complex in 2021). Alibaba's Joseph Tsai already owns 49 percent of the stakes in the Nets—the to-be-signed deal will grant him full ownership of the team as well as the building. The deal is worth more than $700 million, but it's not clear how much of that sum is for the arena. Including the stake he already owns, Tsai is expected to shell out $2.35 billion for the Nets. The soon-to-be previous owner Mikhail Prokhorov started to acquire the Barclays Center and the Nets in 2010 and finished the acquisition in 2015. According to the New York Post, Prokhorov bought the team for $875 million and the building at $825 million, which means he's about to rake in a ton of money on his investment. The Brooklyn Paper reported that the NBA Board of Governors has to sign off on the sale before it's official, a deal which should be sealed by the end of next month. Since 2012, the 19,000-capacity Barclays Center has crowned the intersection of busy Flatbush and Atlantic avenues. The building's glass curtain wall facade is fitted with 12,000 parametrically-modeled weathered steel panels, and the sloping, concave green roof makes it easy to spot from above.
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Originally opened in 1972, the old Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on New York's Long Island was given a facelift and interior renovation by SHoP and Gensler respectively in 2015. SHoP’s team relied on the concrete massing of the 1970s structure to shape a new facade composed of over 4,700 brushed aluminum fins that wrap the building in broad sweeping curves. The project, which benefitted from a rigorous digitally-conceived workflow, delivered the new undulating facade geometry by precisely varying each of the fins in profile and dimension. Two primary fin shapes are designed from one sheet of aluminum composite material (ACM), minimizing waste while highlighting SHoP’s commitment to a design process that is tightly integrated with fabrication and assembly processes. John Cerone, associate principal at SHoP, told AN that one of the successes of the project is the new facade's reflective effects that pick up on colors of the surrounding landscape. This is especially evident during sporting events where crowds wearing the home team’s colors reflect onto the facade. The project in many ways mirrors SHoP's success with Barclays Center over five years ago—same client, same building type, similar design process. When asked what, in this project, arose as a surprise or a challenge to the design team working on Nassau, Cerone candidly said, "Nothing!" He elaborated, "As we continue these projects, it's a continuous iteration: We recycle process. I don't think this industry does enough of that." "Don't ignore fabrication constraints and input from contractors," Cerone said. The fins are planar and negotiate a ruled digital surface, which was informed by early feedback from fabricators and contractors. "An intelligence builds from doing other projects like this. While the componentry and hardware differ, the actual process of how you structure the model and develop methods of automation improves with experience." The architects cite simple definitions which they adopted and advanced from prior projects which help to automate the generation of parts for geometrically complex assemblies. "This to us was a proof. It's a great testament to not being surprised by the process," Cerone said. The design process for SHoP was initiated with a laser scan of the existing arena, resulting in a highly detailed topographic mesh surface that became the base geometry for forthcoming design and fabrication models. The framework of the new skin was designed as a long-span space frame, springing off massive existing concrete piers that were, in the words of Cerone, impressively over-structured. The resulting structural subframe was assembled on the plaza level of the stadium and craned into place. Only 32 “mega-panels” were required. "Facades are the closest you can get to manufacturing in architecture," Cerone said, "but we are looking towards using this process throughout the building. How can it inform the superstructure and the interior? We are working to scale this process up."
Take a trip up onto the Barclays Center's green roof, where sedum installation is over half complete
When The Architect’s Newspaper first visited the Barclays Center’s green roof, installation had just begun and there was only one strip of sedum running up the arena. Now, six weeks later, sedum covers more than 50 percent of the roof, and, without being too hyperbolic about things, it's looking like a verdant hillside up there. On a visit to the Barclays Center this week, Linda Chiarelli, Deputy Director of Construction for Forest City Ratner, told AN that the roof's 135,000 square feet of sedum should all be in place by the end of July. The green plant is especially hardy and does not need an elaborate irrigation system. (There are four hose bibs on the roof just in case of a drought situation.) The full green roof project, which requires some additional architectural and engineering work, is on track to wrap up in September. The three-acre space will not be open to the public, but rather is designed to absorb rainwater and keep excess noise from escaping the arena. https://vimeo.com/128175007 For much more on the Barclays Center's green roof, be sure to watch our video above, and to see where things stand today, check out the gallery below.
It is not surprising that the Barclays Center has been a polarizing building. It was born out of one of New York’s most controversial development schemes, it draws big crowds to the heart of Brownstone Brooklyn, and, of course, has a bold architectural form and facade that people tend to really love or really hate. https://vimeo.com/128175007 But no matter what you may think of the SHoP Architects–designed arena, it hasn’t seemed quite finished since Jay Z inaugurated the building with eight sold out shows back in 2012. Because above the arena’s rippling steel skin was a bare white roof (save for the Barclays logo) that looked, more or less, like a bald spot. Now, that’s changing as the Barclays Center’s long-promised green roof is taking shape. While the 135,000-square-foot space will not be publicly accessible, it is designed to reduce noise output from the arena, capture rainwater, and provide nice views from the street, as well as from the new towers rising above it. The undisclosed cost of the project is being covered by a joint venture between Forest City Ratner and the Shanghai-based Greenland Holding Group, which has joined the Pacific Park Brooklyn project, formerly known as Atlantic Yards. The Architect’s Newspaper was recently granted exclusive access onto the Barclays Center’s roof to see the installation process. See for yourself in our video above.
Since its founding in 1996, SHoP Architects has been committed to fostering architectural innovation despite on-the-ground constraints. In New York, those constraints often take the form of municipal regulations. "From day one SHoP was always a firm that was interested in pushing the limits of design, really getting into materials and craftsmanship," said principal Gregg Pasquarelli. "But we were also building in the pressure tank of New York, where a lot of the innovation has to occur in the skins of the buildings, because zoning is so prescriptive." Pasquarelli will outline his firm's approach to cutting-edge facade design in the context of New York's regulatory environment in the afternoon keynote address at next month's Facades+ NYC conference. For SHoP, "innovation" extends not just to the materials and systems the firm uses, but to the way the architects with other members of the AEC industry. "We learned that to build innovative facades, we had to interact with the construction industry in a new way," he said. In 2003, for a 20,000-square-foot addition to the historic Porter House warehouse, the designers collaborated with the fabricator to digitally design a custom zinc skin. "It was 2002 and it was the first facade completely designed and manufactured using 100 percent digital fabrication," said Pasquarelli. "We were way out in front of everyone, but it was our joint venture with the developer and the contractor that allowed innovation." SHoP has carried a similar strategy through to more recent projects, including the 2012 Barclays Center, which Pasquarelli describes as “ the only way to get that facade built was to create a joint venture with the contractor in order to fabricate the 12,000 panels of weathered steel for the facade." SHoP is known for, among other things, its creative use of a varied material palette. The paired towers of 626 First Avenue, currently under construction, are clad in copper; the recently-unveiled 111 West 57th Street high-rise features a terra cotta and bronze envelope. The diversity, said Pasquarelli, "is more about experimentation than anything else. The thing we don't like is working with finished materials. We are interested in raw materials, how they patina and age over time." But while many of SHoP's designs draw inspiration from the colors and textures of Manhattan's historic built environment, the architects never lose sight of their ultimate goal: moving building design forward. "What are the limits of these materials now that we're using CNC equipment to digitally fabricate facades?" asks Pasquarelli. "How can we rethink how traditional materials are used in a very twenty-first-century way?" For more information or to register for Facades+ NYC, visit the conference website.
Hillary Clinton will not be named the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, as Mayor Bill de Blasio had hoped. No, that will likely happen at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, as the Democratic National Committee has announced that the City of Brotherly Love will host its 2016 national convention. The expected anointing of Hillary will happen during the week of July 25, just days after the Republicans meet in Cleveland, Ohio to nominate—who knows—Jeb Bush? Clinton versus Bush. What a world.
SHoP Architects has racked up another major project in Brooklyn. The firm behind the Barclays Center and the Domino Sugar Factory redevelopment, is designing Brooklyn’s newest, tallest tower. NY YIMBY spotted building permits for 340 Flatbush Avenue Extension in Downtown Brooklyn, where the firm’s 775-foot-tall, 495-unit building will rise. SHoP's high-rise will top Brooklyn's current tallest tower—388 Bridge Street—by about 200 feet, but its reign at the top could be brief. In June, the New York Times reported that enough air rights could be picked up on the same block as the SHoP tower—at the site of Junior's Cheesecake—to build a 1,000-foot-tall tower. There are no renderings for SHoP’s project just yet, but it will likely be a major improvement for Downtown Brooklyn's skyline, which is quickly filling-up with generic glass towers.
Over one-hundred-thousand-square-feet of sedum will be implanted into the Barclays Center’s massive, logo-emblazoned, bald-spot of a roof. According to the Wall Street Journal, SHoP is designing the green topper for the one billion dollar arena. Plans for a public green space on top of the arena date back over a decade, but were later scrapped due to cost constraints. But, now, Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner has revived the plan—sort of. The green roof won’t so much be a public space, as it will be a marketing tool. Ratner representatives told the Journal that the new roof will help entice prospective tenants into the apartments rising around the center. Turns out, a green roof provides a better view than a Barclays logo. They also claim that the green roof will cut down on noise from concerts, which have been much louder than the developer expected.
It has been a rough year for Madison Square Garden. First, upstaged by the arrival of the brand new Barclays Center, and now, the Penn-station-topping arena faces an uphill battle to renew a permit that allows it to function as a sports venue after Manhattan's Community Board 5 voted down the extension request. The Commercial Observer reported that the sports arena is undergoing a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), and at a meeting last week, Community Board 5 (CB5) unanimously voted to deny the Garden’s request for a special permit seeking operating rights in perpetuity, and any additional large-scale outdoor signage. CB5 would also like to do away with the Garden’s tax abatement, which The New York Times said was “estimated to have cost the city $300 million,” and recommends a new permit that will be limited to a 10-year period. With changes in the works for Penn Station—including a proposed plan to move Amtrak to the James A. Farley Building across the street— CB5 wants to ensure that improving the congested transit hub remains a priority. The Dolan family, who owns the Garden, has a long way to go before the ULURP process is over. Next up, they’ll go through the Borough President review.
Downtown Brooklyn is growing at a fast pace, but it looks like transit is having trouble keeping up with the spike in population and increased congestion that has resulted from the Barclays Center and the onset of new commercial and residential developments. The Tri-State Transportation Campaign, along with the help of Councilwoman Letitia James and local civic groups, have put together a report called “Brooklyn Gateway Transportation Vision,” which outlines a variety of transit problems and potential solutions, including: enhanced bus service, residential parking permits, congestion pricing, improved safety and access for pedestrians, and more cycling amenities such as a bike share program and parking.
The area around the Barclays Center, stretching from the commercial blocks of Flatbush to Atlantic and Vanderbilt avenues, might soon be Brooklyn’s next Business Improvement District (BID). The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership announced in a press release yesterday that it has taken steps to organize a steering committee made up of local stakeholders to evaluate which BID services are needed. Property owners would pay an additional property tax to subsidize services such as streetscape improvements, maintenance, security, and programming. According to the Atlantic Yards Report, a BID would support Ratner’s "campaign to call the entire Atlantic Yards site part of Downtown Brooklyn." First the BID needs to go through several hearings and approvals by local community boards, the City Planning Commission and New York City Council before moving forward.
At Tuesday's groundbreaking of B2, the first 32-story residential tower to be built at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, New Yorkers got a sneak peek at how the world’s tallest modular building will be constructed. Just beyond the podium stood what officials call the “chassis,” a steel framed box that makes up an essential structural element of the building. “You don’t need to compromise on design when it comes to modular,” said Developer Bruce Ratner. Located on the corner of Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue, the SHoP Architects-designed tower will rise above the Barclay Center, also designed by SHoP, and offer 363 units split evenly between affordable housing and market rate units. Ratner told the audience that the affordable units at Atlantic Yards will be equipped with the exact same appliances and amenities as the market rate apartments: “You will not know an affordable unit from a market rate unit.” The bulk of the construction of the modular components will happen in a 100,000 square-foot space at the Brooklyn Navy Yard with the help of 125 unionized workers, which MaryAnne Gilmartin, executive vice president of commercial and residential development at Forest City Ratner, said would help in the “reduction of traffic, dust, and waste” and Mayor Bloomberg hailed as “cheaper and less disruptive.” B2 is just the first of more than a dozen residential buildings to come.