Atlantic Yards’ Gehry Dumping Leads to Kansas City vs. New York Brawl

Following the big-yet-not surprising story that Frank Gehry is now officially off the Atlantic Yards/New Jersey Nets stadium project, we have two newspapers with very differing pieces about the matter. First up, the New York Times‘ architecture critic, Nicolai Ouroussoff is livid about the decision to dump Gehry, saying that Ellerbe Becket‘s new design for the stadium is awful and that the recent move to their firm makes the whole city look bad:

…what’s most offensive about the design is the message it sends to New Yorkers. Architecture, we are being told, is something decorative and expendable, a luxury we can afford only in good times, or if we happen to be very rich. What’s most important is to build, no matter how thoughtless or dehumanizing the results. It is the kind of logic that kills cities — and that has been poisoning this one for decades.

On the other side of the fence is the Kansas City Star, the hometown paper of Ellerbe Becket, who begins their piece about the change: “Kansas City sports architecture firms 2, Frank Gehry 0.” They’re happy and gloating, of course, because this is the second time EB has won a building from the starchitect, the first being when they were up against one another to design the Sprint Center stadium right there in Kansas City (Ellerbe Becket was part of a group of local architects who had banded together for the attempt to win the contract). So there’s the two sides of the coin. And perhaps a word of warning for anyone, starchitect or otherwise, for what’s further become the town in charge of stadium building.