The Barclays Center has been open for less than a week and it hasn't even hosted its first event, but the reviews are pouring in. Ever since SHoP Architects' design for the arena was unveiled, it has elicited a lot of strong opinions. Now that it's up, it seems that everyone's a critic, with Barclays Center reviews popping up everywhere from New York Magazine and the Real Deal to Yelp and Curbed's comments section. We've sifted through them and rounded-up the archicritic highlights, from both the pros and the public:
The New Yorker, Alexandra Lange
Lange calls it a big "alien presence" that leaves her dismayed. "All you can see is the Barclays Center, because it is big, because it is dark, because it is without scale. The subway entrance, a potentially quotidian and relateable moment, is veiled by a ski-ramp roof. There is a cove of wooden benches in front of it, then more gray pavers leading you under the oculus to the front door. Right now, tended by lifts, the entrance suggests space portal more than porte-cochère."
New York Magazine, Justin Davidson
Davidson praises the arena, calling it "a great, tough-hided beast of a building" and "an architectural chest bump: juiced, genial, and aggressive." "The outer walls ripple gracefully, the colored flash of multi-megawatt entertainment pulses from inside, and the front plaza reaches out to yank the public in. [...] On game nights, the crowds will well up through the subway portal and flow across the plaza and into the arena's glittering maw, passing beneath a canopy that is the arena's most brilliantly extroverted move. The vast overhang pivots on one leg and swoops around, describing an opening vast enough for a blue whale to slip through. Light pours through; so does rain, which under the right conditions will form a mighty pillar of water."
Yelp, Chino P.
" Now that the scaffolding is removed it adds some BLING to what used to be a rundown beat up space!!! Bring on the games and shows...."
[Photo by Will Femia]
The Real Deal, James Gardner
Gardner was not nearly as enthralled as Davidson: "It is about as tawdry and uninspired a piece of work as I had anticipated." Gardner even hates on the new subway station. "Quite clearly, it never occurred to anyone that somebody might actually want to design the place. Rather it has been conceived in the dullest and most functional style imaginable, with standard issue turnstiles, and little more than some ill-conceived brown and white tiles braying their laughable insufficiency across the walls. The designers should have taken a ride over to the South Ferry Station, which opened about two years ago, to see what can happen when people with real artistic vision undertake to design public spaces."
New York Times, Liz Robbins
While her article isn't really a review, Robbins' personal opinions still show. She calls Barclays "a giant rusty bread basket" that created a "den of contention." But once inside, she seems to like the arena more. "Inside the Barclays Center, the drone of discontent drops away. The space is at once cavernous and intimate; an expansive hall peers into the bowl of the arena, with its sleek black seats and brilliant flashing scoreboards."
Curbed comments, Anonymous
"The interiors looks really well done, looks more like a concert hall than an arena. The herringbone pattern on the court is AWESOME, just like the wood floors in many of the brownstones in the area. I imagine that will be a unique feature for televised games to set this arena apart from others. Wish there was more greenery outside in the plaza area but maybe that will come later."
· Barclays Center coverage [Curbed]