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2014 MCHAP.emerge

Barclays Center

SHoP Architects

Brooklyn, NY, USA

September 2012


SHoP Architects


Ellerbe Becket/AECOM (Architect of Record)


Forest City Ratner Companies


Bruce Damonte


The building's sculptural façade is wrapped in alternating bands of weathered steel and glass. The interplay of these two textures and materials emphasizes the contrast of light and dark: the scaled intricacy of the curving metal latticework creates a rich and dynamically textured surface, while the glass bands introduce a sense of lightness, opening the building to the surrounding city. The weathered steel is unique in that its rich patina reflects changes in the weather and daylight, while the taut glass skin reflects the colors of the sky and surrounding cityscape. The lower band of steel lattice which wraps the building’s ground floor level around 6th Avenue and Dean Street rises up to create openings and views into the lobbies and main concourse. The interplay between light and dark continues inside the building, where material and lighting choices create a dramatic black-box theater-like environment in the public concourse and in the bowl itself. Highly reflective concrete floors and angular lighting are reminiscent of the Brooklyn streets at night, further dissolving the boundary between the building and its neighborhood, and reinforcing the arena’s connection with its surroundings.


The design of the Barclays Center achieves a striking balance between iconic form and performance. Completed in 2012, the 675,000 sf sports and entertainment arena is integrated into one of the busiest urban intersections in the New York metro area, and reflects both its function and its surroundings through form, material, and scale. One of the guiding principles of the arena’s design was to integrate its form with the surrounding neighborhood. The building relates at both a human and neighborhood scale, with a high level of transparency at sidewalk level reversing the inwardly focused experience typical of most arena architecture. This connection with the surrounding streetscape is further heightened by pushing the event level down one full story, creating a dramatic view into the arena bowl and scoreboard from the main entry plaza at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues. An added benefit of placing the main event space of the arena below grade is the reduction in the arena's overall height, ensuring that its scale relates comfortably to its surroundings. Views into the building and out to the sidewalk create a scaled intimacy between those inside and outside the arena, providing a true sense of connection between the building and its urban context. Finally, the civic gesture created by the arena is exemplified by a 30-foot high steel canopy and oculus that reaches 85 feet over the main entrance and public plaza.


The initial goals of the project were to create an iconic NBA stadium that could be established as a major New York City venue for sports, concerts, and events—and be completed within time and budget restraints. As the project evolved and opportunities were presented, the goals of the project expanded to include creating a venue that captures the energy of Brooklyn inside and out, and creates a strong connection to New York City with mass transit. We are proud to note that all project goals were achieved and even exceeded. The Barclays Center was completed on time, on budget, and upon completion was established as an iconic world destination.

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