Adding to the ongoing discourse on the Atlantic Yards development is BrooklynSpeaks, a collaboration between neighborhood associations, the Municipal Art Society and the Tri-State Transportation Consortium.
There's a slideshow that summarizes the major points of this initiative. None of the points are that new, really, however the illustrations with plans for the architect and landscape architect are persuasive.
I agree with breaking up the superblocks with smaller side streets to make the experience on the ground more palatable and fitting with the existing neighborhood. However, I don't really agree with massing all the open space together in one park. Even if the buildings and reduced in height, they are going to be much taller than the existing buildings so I think the development would be better served by smaller parks with warm, human furniture and amenities that are in line with its civic and retail program. Instead of a focus on a narrow definition of "open space," it should focus on sidewalks and other pedestrian amenities, which will blossom into useable space, and open by default.(Has anyone seen the little concrete/marble park behind the Sculpture for the Living? It is the coldest thing ever with its marble slabs. It's well-used on warm, sunny days, but I'm curious about ongoing use. Frankly, who would be impressed by the use of marble? No one living in the Sculpture would deign to hang out with the hoi polloi of St. Mark's Street!)
Also, the renderings give us the impression that the building masses go straight up from the street in a vertical, Gehry-esque manner. Why can't there be more of a set-back for pedestrians, so that they experience say, the first six floors and higher floors are set away from the streetview. I'm obviously not a designer, so I'm just asking.
Finally, it does seem that more thought has to be given to the stages of the project so that all the attendant community benefits do not come at the tail end of 10 years. Honestly, the whole project is riding on the acceptance that there are benefits, ultimately. Can't the stages be done more smartly, say in 2-year chunks, instead of in 4-year and 6-year chunks?
Posted by Shin-pei at 10:06 AM