Philip Nobel, writing in the official magazine of the American Institute of Architects, gives Barclays Center another rave review, comparing its sweeping iconic style to "the enduring awfulness of Madison Square Garden."
In particular, Nobel writes about the oculus and how it creates drama at the arena entrance.
Through it, the building becomes a celebratory civic icon in the grand manner, especially when the construction is seen from below as one emerges from the matching subway entrance on the far side of a broad new public plaza. It also stretches one’s impression of the massing, easing it into the gently sloping hillside site. From afar, the shadow-banded, rust-brown exterior serves to further undercut the arena’s bulk, letting it settle, in color as well as scale, into the predominant fabric. The huge LED sign lining the interior faces of a basketball-court-sized aperture in the cantilever plays the same game: It lords over the plaza, a little Times Square sizzle for a corner of Brooklyn that can take it.
Nobel also reveals how in 2009 when the original design by stadium experts Ellerbe Becket was viciously panned by critics Bruce Ratner called a friend, David Childs of Skidmore Owings Merrill. Childs, who designed Ratner's MetroTech, was then working on World Trade Center One. Ratner asked for a recommendation and Childs told him about SHoP, then a small firm in Lower Manhattan. Ratner wasn't sure they were ready but took Childs' word and has not regretted it.
Barclays Center, by SHoP Architects - Philip Nobel - Architect Magazine