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Architects warm up to Barclays Center exterior, neighborhood-friendly features


There's been divided opinion by architecture critics on Barclays Center's gritty exterior but critics at both the Architect's Newspaper and Philadelphia Inquirer give the exterior rave reviews Sunday. It's the interior that one, the Architect's Newspaper, has problems with. Basically, the critics like the way the exterior fits with the neighborhood around Atlantic and Flatbush and avoid punishing those who live nearby, whether through transit options or lack of glaring lights.

"The contrast between the fluidity of the forms—which clearly reflect contemporary digital design—and the (artificially created) patina on the plates, creates a balance of high-tech and heft that seems appropriate for Brooklyn, a place that has always had a strong sense of itself," writes Alan Brake of AN, who loves the way the arena unfolds from the Transit Connection.

The interior Brake finds less compelling. "The entry lobby and many of the circulation spaces seem tight, and will likely be jammed during popular performances and big games. Painted almost entirely in black with grey floors, the predominantly sheetrock interiors seem drab, even at times gloomy."

Inga Saffron, architecture critic for the Inquirer similarly likes SHoP's civic gestures. "The architecture manages to be both glam and gritty, foreign and familiar. It contains Brooklyn in all its multitudes."

Like others, she cannot resist comparing the arena to an animal. She chooses a a duck-billed platypus, noting, "the arena stretches low and long on Atlantic Avenue, like some prehistoric beast rising from the primordial muck. This is largely thanks to a smart decision by the architects to submerge the "bowl," or playing floor, below ground, keeping the domed roof roughly the height of the adjacent mall."

Will it work for Brooklyn? She quotes a tweet by a local writer observing the scene outside the arena, "Black hipsters shooting skate videos. Hasids collecting mitzvahs. Burqa stroller pushers at rest. Basically: like Brooklyn."