Submitted by Roldo on Tue, 06/09/2009 - 13:56.

Cleveland’s Forest City developers get walloped by N. Y. Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff for the design of a new basketball arena in Brooklyn N. Y. “A colossal, spiritless box,” he writes.


Ouroussoff writes that the arena design for the Nets team would make it “fit more comfortably in a cornfield than at one of the busiest intersections of a vibrant metropolis.”




Forest City’s Bruce Ratner and company dumped Frank Gehry’s exotic design for the more pedestrian work of Ellerbe Becker, the firm that designed Gund (Quicken) Arena here.


Writes Ouroussoff, “But what’s most offensive about the design is the message it sends to New Yorkers. Architecture, we are being told, is something decorative and expendable, a luxury we can afford only in good times, or if we happen to be very rich.”


Here’s a link to the Times column:


Forest City Enterprises and its Brooklyn offshoot – Forest City Ratner - have been under extreme community pressure as the firm tries to develop a massive project where once the Brooklyn Dodgers roamed and people now live. It includes the arena, office, housing and retail and was planned originally as a multi-billion dollar project with 18 skyscrapers. It has had to be cut back with the poor economy.

(CORRECTION: I'm reminded that the project is located not where Ebbets Field, home of the Dodgers of Brooklyn, was located but where Walter O'Malley WANTED to build a new stadium back in the 1950s. Thanks to Norman Oder who writes the Atlantic Yards Report.)


(CORRECTION ON CORRECTION. Norman Oder e-mails that the new arena is really "near" the O'Malley desired site. "Forest City and project supporters have tried to call it the same site, but it's not.")

Known as Atlantic Yards, it has had strong opposition from a community group Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn. (


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