Fellow Fort Greene resident, Charles Taylor's, review of From a Cause to a Style: Modernist Architecture’s Encounter with the American City starts with a scathing account of Le Corbusier's 'contributions' to post WWII England, touches on writings by Nicolai Ouroussoff and Jane Jacobs, sculptural work by Richard Serra and Maya Lin before turning to my favorite past time, bashing Frank Gehry's architectural work.
While Forest City Ratner's New York Times Building was completed without much drama, the Atlantic Yards project continues to languish and in some ways I wouldn't have it any other way. The initial proposal was too out of wack with the surroundings and even in its current form, there's still more downsizing to be done before it gains acceptance by the neighborhood groups.
It always stumped me as to how Ratner even got the plan going given the massive failures of Metro Tech and the Atlantic Mall. I walk up Hanson Place often and it irks me why they never considered store fronts on that street. They basically designed a building that turned its back to Hanson Place, it doesn't make economic sense.
I remember when Gehry unveiled the first design, he called the signature building Miss Brooklyn and proceeded to give his customary bullshit explanation on how the design was contextual. The only thing contextual about the building was its name which mentioned 'Brooklyn' and stated the obvious in that it 'missed' / was totally off the mark. Since then the design has only become uglier. Someone please tell Gehry to play with his Mega Bloks elsewhere.
It would be a disservice to the readers if I simply ended this post in a negative manner so here's an indepth article on Santiago Calatrava and his sculptural works. Whereas Gehry's work heavily favors sculpture at the expense of architecture, Calatrava seems to have found a proper middle ground for the two. It's too bad that his Path transit hub for the World Trade Center site has been compromised repeatedly. Calatrava has mentioned Eero Saarinen as an influence, wonder if the TWA terminal (scheduled to reopen later in the month) had any influence on its design. Anyway, he mentions in the article that perhaps it shouldn't be built at all and that the city should wait to do it right in the future. I've been saying it since it first got its wings clipped, Calatrava should just pull his design and go back to square one incorporating all the budget and security demands that did not exist in the original RFP. The bastardizing of the original design will not do.
Photo Credit: Milwaukee Art Museum. Photo by Jeremy Wick.