Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Give heave-ho to 'Lego' building, say Atlantic Yards critics


Building One (foreground) replaces Miss Brooklyn in Atlantic Yards development. Click image to see photo gallery of the evolving plans for Atlantic Yards. Click for more pictures.

Call it a scrap heap, a life-size land of Legos or, as one critic described it, a post-apocalyptic nightmare - just don't call it fit for Kings County.

One day after the release of scaled-back new designs for the controversial Atlantic Yards project, New Yorkers took a bite out of the spiraling, Lego-like remake of the signature 620-foot Miss Brooklyn building.

"You're kidding, right?" said Anthony Lomastro, 62, when shown renderings of the wild-eyed, glass-and-steel skyscraper, now called Building One. "That looks like it's falling down instead of going up. It's awful."

The building, which is conceived as a centerpiece to the $4.2 billion project, was designed by architect Frank Gehry to calm critics who feared an earlier version would overshadow the nearby Williamsburgh Savings Bank building.

Although a 110-foot height reduction was announced by developer Forest City Ratner in 2006, the new designs were completed recently and obtained exclusively by the Daily News.
They were front and center in conversations yesterday among many Brooklynites, who called the tower a disaster.

"It looks ugly," said Joseph Charles, 19, of East Flatbush, who said he supports the project. "It looks like scrap metal. The whole NBA thing is good, but not like this."
Crown Heights resident Brian King professed his support for the ambitious project, insisting the 22-acre complex promised to bring needed jobs and basketball. But the architecture? Fat chance, said King.

"It looks like milk crates," said King, 36, before name-dropping another building with similar features. "There's a building on the West Side that looks like that - but better. This one looks like ... a post-apocalyptic Earth or something."

Not everybody was sour on the building, which Forest City Ratner officials say will now house only office space as opposed to a mix of residential and commercial space.
"Why not? It looks fun," said Prospect Heights resident Colin McCabe, 31. "I could see this being like the Empire State Building, with all the lighting schemes. You could light it up at night, and it could be part of the skyline."

Spokesmen for Gehry did not respond to calls.

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