Brooklyn’s Barclays Center: First visit to the “brutalist dog turd”

I paid my first up-close-and-personal visit to the Brooklyn Nets‘ Barclays Center on Monday, and … well, suffice to say that the giant Barclays logo on the roof is the least remarkable element of the place (click on photos to enlarge):

Approaching the arena from Bruce Ratner’s mall to the north.

It’s very brown. Or browns.

Outside of the new subway entrance. Presumably will be marginally more inviting without the police officers standing guard.

The roof of the subway entrance is covered with environmentally friendly sod seeded with plants. Which is already peeling off.

The advertising board inside the “oculus” punched into the overhanging roof. More impressive (or oppressive, depending on your perspective) at night.

Underside of the pre-rusted roof panels. Not sure what’s up with the gappiness.

View from the back of the arena (Dean Street). At sunset, the glass window perfectly blends into the sky, and the top of the arena seems to be magically suspended in space. Or ominously, again depending on your perspective.

Other notes: I wasn’t able to get a good photo through the glass, but passersby can get a glimpse of the scoreboard and part of the seating bowl through the front doors, which is kind of a nice touch. And the roof is gently lit by specks of light at night, which makes it a less hulking presence (though the video screen is way, way more hulking at night).

Other than that, the main impression I came away with was “Man, that’s a lot of brown.” It definitely makes a major architectural statement; whether it’s the kind of statement the neighbors will ever grow to love is an open question, and probably one that will depend less on architecture than on whether arenagoers take the train as hoped, or insist on driving around in circles for an hour looking for parking. I expect that large numbers of Jay-Z attendees this weekend will be able to handle public transit; when the Barbra Streisand fans descend after that, though, watch out.

8 comments on “Brooklyn’s Barclays Center: First visit to the “brutalist dog turd”

  1. Well, I’m going to go all foul-mouthed teenager on you: OMFG!

    On a more mature note, where’s the smelter and the smoke stack?

  2. I’m guessing that the brown exterior is supposed to blend in with neighborhood being that Brooklyn is known for it’s brownstone architecture.

    I will add that I’ve seen pics of the interior of the building and it looks pretty good. You can tell by the seating that the sightlines will be great for basketball.

    The concourses are terrific and it’s almost like a hall of fame of Brooklyn eateries with Nathan’s and Junior’s among the many edible options for the fans.

  3. It’ll be known as the turd blob that ate Brooklyn rather than “…blend in with neighborhood being that Brooklyn is known for it’s brownstone architecture…”.
    BTW – have fun waiting for someone under the “oculus” on a cold, rainy/snowy night (that never happens in winter, does it?) while they’re doing the Flying Dutchman looking for a parking space.

  4. To be fair, one of the fellow parents waiting for soccer practice to finish up across the street did bring up the “brown matches the brownstones” idea. To also be fair, he was alone in this opinion.

  5. LOL. Here in San Jose, there’s a sculpture in a downtown park that the city paid for. It resembles the last two words that Neil used in the title for this article, but more tightly coiled. It’s supposed to be a giant snake. People have laughed at the city for paying for this sculpture.

  6. Ok, so it’s a brutalist dog turd.

    But as brutalist dog turds go, it’s probably one of the better looking ones… I’d have to think…

    Pretty sure Gehry wouldn’t have been happy with the dog shit motif. Maybe he’s well out of this thing…


    Here’s San Jose’s contribution to the doggie doo contest.