Sliver, aka the Manhattanization of Brooklyn

“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently.” ― Bill Watterson

Beauty has a price.  And a tremendous one at that.  SHoP Architects, the firm behind the Barclays Center in New York City’s Brooklyn, learned this―and not in a totally enthusiastic way―when it unveiled designs for the borough’s tallest structure, upsetting a large swath of New Yorkers in the process.  There is no question their building, 9 DeKalb Avenue, is gorgeous, its signature feature being a series of vertical bronze accents, a subtle nod to the historic Brooklyn Dime Savings Bank with which the proposed tower would share part of its footprint.

9 DeKalb Avenue-02

© SHoP Architects

The issue, however, is not with the building itself, but the precedent it may set and which may set Brooklyn on a development path from which it cannot escape.  Local residents are concerned the tower will have long-term, serious consequences on the neighborhood, located between Brooklyn Heights and Bed-Stuy, thereby shifting it from its claim of authenticity to one thriving on purely commercial interests.  They do not want the downtown area, and as a natural extension of this, the entire borough, characterized by the overdevelopment of tall, slender buildings, a trend that has gone nearly unabated with its sister borough, Manhattan.  Midtown, for example, at Central Park South, has a number of them and the long shadows they cast over the Park, particularly during the shorter daylight hours of Fall and Winter, has robbed the area of the solemn peace that accompanies the winter solstice.  Their argument, and its valid one, is that Manhattan’s skyline, although dazzling, causes the eventual eradication of the neighborhoods below and that’s precisely what sets Brooklyn apart.

9 DeKalb Avenue-03

© SHoP Architects




World-renowned and Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry…

Beekman Tower-02

© 2013

…admired for the sensuous curves of titanium which form the outer skin of the Guggenheim Museum’s Bilbao location along with the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, has consistently managed to surprise and impress over his long and storied career.

One of his most recent creations is New York City’s Beekman Tower, the tallest residential tower in the world.  From a distance, the building seems out-of-place and its surface appears as if something has gone horribly wrong.  It’s only as you get closer you realize Gehry has introduced his trademark curved metal as the tower’s exterior.  Upon closer inspection still do you fully realize and appreciate the enormous complexity of engineering involved–that of undulating water being poured from an unseen source above.  It’s a building so exquisite, in fact, the first reaction you have will be that of shivers down your spine.  To continue reading the Architecture page, click here.