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Thread: Brooklyn - Proposed City Tech Tower - by Renzo Piano

  1. #61


    The entire building is a rehash of the NYTIMES tower, unfortunately Piano didn’t rehash Aurora Place (although the façade is incredibly dull), or the London Bridge Tower (although much like BOFA the form isn’t very memorable).

    The spire, although I have no problem with spires per-say is a rehash, must he place one on every flat-roofed tower he designs? There are the rods, instead of gray, yellow. The base columns are also the same, only yellow here. Even the Seagram-esque layout of podium and general height to width ratio of the tower is the same. I don’t mind the glass sides, sure they’re boring and have no culmination, but whatever, and perhaps it’s the glass NYTIMES would’ve had if it weren’t for the rods. I even kind of like the massing, how there are two skinny towers connected interminably by sky bridges.

    It’s the flat yellow face that is visually nauseating. First off, Yellow? Second, I’ve seen the same application on too many cheap buildings, the flat tapering of a solid wall into glass, sometimes it’s the result of a core ending, here I have no idea, but it looks incredibly unsophisticated, awkward, goofy-looking, and perhaps even Kaufman-esque? It would look a thousand times better if it had some design tie-in, for instance if the tower setback in accordance, but as of right-now it looks like some childish drawing of a skyscraper on the side of an actual skyscraper. Perhaps even worse than the yellow side of rods is the yellow atrium of rods, I was told over and over again in the NYTIMES thread that the rods served a function for blocking out the sunlight, which I agree was the case for the southern exposure, but otherwise acted as an impendent to light, air, and views, I couldn’t get my head around it being an expression of function following form. I wonder if anyone will try and convince me the logic of this building. Floor to ceiling glass on the outward exposures, and for the courtyard, wall facing a wall, where there is little to no view, light, and air, a wall or rods? Come on now, how is it not the otherway around? I’ve come to the conclusion that Piano is a hack.

    Modernism can be done brilliantly well today with today's technology and materials, all one needs to do is look to further than Richard Meier.

  2. #62
    Banned Member
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    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY


    I don't know. I kind of hope that Downtown Brooklyn can grow up into a more quirky city. I don't really mind the yellow as the two blocks to the east are low-rise and not going anywhere soon. That side will be visible for a long long time and will be the view people see from the BQE.

    I think this is going to be unlike Manhattan or even Jersey City development (if developed as planned), because Downtown Brooklyn is a plateau of 400' and 500' buildings. This will look incredibly tall next to the existing buildings.

  3. #63

  4. #64
    The Dude Abides
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    NYC - Financial District


    Quote Originally Posted by GVNY View Post
    While I don't agree with Mrs. James, can someone provide a concrete response to her criticisms of height (such as that it is bad, and should not be taller than the WSB), as opposed to labeling her an idiot, or a fool?

    This would be much more helpful to discussion, and for me in particular.
    In addition to the specifics that people have named, I'll add two broader ideas:

    1) In an age when we're trying to undo the damage of sprawl, ever denser developments in urban cores are the most environmentally-friendly way to go.

    2) Anyone that proclaims "no future buildings can exceed a past building's height" is simply against human civilization per se. Skyscrapers are a sign of progress - economic and social. To think that we should limit ourselves to something that was accomplished generations ago is not only insulting to people today who'd be willing to do it; it's insulting to those who built the WSB tower. They too must have surpassed the height of the then-tallest building, and probably by a substantial amount.

    It's anti-Brooklyn, anti-America, and anti-human. I'll stick to thinking of Ms. James as a fool, and an idiot.

  5. #65
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    East Midtown


    An architect has a mast on two of his buildings and he is a one trick pony now?
    Not "a mast" but the SAME mast. Same style, shape, placement on a flat roof, etc. Yes, 'one trick pony' seems right in this regard. There are infinite ways to top a building, why use the same martini toothpick again and again? It just seems lazy, not very creative.
    I didn't know the yellow is composed of rods. Yikes. Not that again.

  6. #66

    Default remember - its a premature drawing

    Before we get too worked up about the specifics of the rendering, let's remember the NYDN article seems to indicate the rendering is out of date. It was probably just a half baked rip off of the Times Tower, as we are all commenting. But it also sounds like we're critiquing a rendering of something that won't be built. Quite possibly, the actual building will be more original.

  7. #67


    Mr. Brooklyn

    Bruce Ratner is reportedly planning the city’s tallest residential tower, a 1,000-foot spire at the corner of Jay and Tillary streets. He claims this rendering is old, but won’t reveal his current plan. It is unclear why Ratner was chosen over a rival developer.

    By Adam F. Hutton
    December 1, 2007

    Bruce Ratner is planning to build the city’s tallest residential tower — a whopping 1,000-foot skyscraper that would dwarf the 512-foot Williamsburgh Savings Bank building, Brooklyn’s tallest.

    But as with Ratner’s Atlantic Yards mega-development, the secret, closed-door deal is already casting a shadow.

    “No comment,” Ratner told a Brooklyn Paper reporter who approached him at the annual Metrotech Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Wednesday night, hours after renderings of the Renzo Piano–designed 1,000-foot-tall edifice at the corner of Jay and Tillary streets were splashed all over the city’s tabloids.

    Earlier in the day, a Ratner spokesman said by e-mail that the drawing “was quite old and not indicative of current plans.” But the spokesman refused to say what the current plans are.

    Secrecy is nothing new for Ratner. As at Atlantic Yards, Ratner is partnering with a public agency — in this case, City University of New York — in a process that will not undergo the city’s rigorous land-use review process. Current zoning allows Ratner to build as high as he wants — but neither his company nor CUNY officials would say how high that is.

    Here are some details about the closed-door public-private partnership:

    • The complex — on Jay Street between Tillary Street and Tech Place — would consist of a new, 11- to 14-story City Tech laboratory and classroom building, and an adjacent underground auditorium and gym. It is not known how much Ratner would be paid for this work.

    • As part of the package, Ratner would control the corner lot at Jay and Tillary streets — currently home to City Tech’s antiquated Klitgord Auditorium.

    • CUNY picked Ratner’s company over rival developer Tishman Speyer in 2005. Details of each company’s bids have not been released to the public despite repeated requests. As a result, it is unclear how much the chosen developer stands to benefit from this public-private partnership.

    The Ratner spokesman’s renunciation of the rendering shrouds the project in additional secrecy. The New York Post reported that the building would rise anywhere from 700 to 1,000 feet and include 600 market-rate apartments, retail space on the ground floor and office space for CUNY.

    This project represents Ratner’s second attempt to build the tallest building in Brooklyn. His Frank Gehry–designed “Miss Brooklyn” tower was originally slated to be well over 600 feet, but its height was trimmed to 511 feet just before the Atlantic Yards project was approved by the state.

    The new “Mr. Brooklyn” tower does not show up in the glitzy presentation of the future of Downtown Brooklyn released last month by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.

    But Partnership president Joe Chan said he is “excited” by the building, whatever its height may be.

    Reaching for the Sky: Here’s how Bruce Ratner’s proposed City Tech tower (which practically begs to be called “Mr. Brooklyn” because of the developer’s Frank Gehry–designed “Miss Brooklyn” tower at Atlantic Yards) would stack up against other New York City Icons. Even at 700 feet, Mr. Brooklyn would be the tallest building on Long Island.


    Another backroom deal

    December 1, 2007

    At first blush, we have no reason to object to Bruce Ratner’s apparent plan to build the city’s tallest residential tower — a 1,000-foot-tall, glass-walled skyscraper at the corner of Tillary and Jay streets.

    Thanks to a 2004 upzoning of Downtown Brooklyn, the sky is literally the limit for such Manhattan-style buildings — and unlike Ratner’s completely out-of-scale skyscraper park at Atlantic Yards in the low-rise Prospect Heights neighborhood, we have always said that Downtown is the place for high-rise growth (with proper planning, of course).

    And Ratner’s design for his tower — which was splashed all over the city’s tabloids this week — was crafted by Renzo Piano, the same bona-fide starchitect whose recently built New York Times tower near Times Square is earning praise.

    So why are we already concerned about Ratner’s latest project? Let us count the ways:

    • For two years, Ratner and his government partners — in this case, the City University of New York, which owns the land on which Ratner would be hired to build a new classroom building and then construct his own skyscraper — have flatly refused to reveal the nature of their deal.

    • CUNY will not even give out its initial “request for proposals,” a key document that reveals what the university sought from developers — and what it was willing to pay the winning bidder — at the City Tech site. Such RFPs are public documents — indeed, making them public is exactly how developers and other stakeholders can submit competitive bids. Keeping RFPs secret makes a mockery of the bidding process.

    • CUNY won’t say how many bids it received last year or how it came to select Ratner as the winning bidder. And the university won’t let the public know what is in Ratner’s bid that made his better than others — an inexcusable lack of transparency from a public institution that prevents the public itself from knowing if officials are acting in its best interests.

    • Ratner’s people aren’t talking, either — more secrecy from a developer who has made his living by partnering with public entities on projects, like Atlantic Yards and Metrotech, that are approved outside the normal and rigorous city land-use review process.

    All developers make promises, and some of them fall short some of the time. But Ratner has fallen short most of the time, and has been paid handsomely for each insult. From the government-subsidized sterility of his fortress-like Metrotech (with its unused retail spaces and poor job-creation numbers), to the government bailout at Ratner’s pathetic Atlantic Center Mall, to the ever-rising taxpayer subsidy that underwrites his shell game at Atlantic Yards, there has been no accountability. Government keeps on partnering with Ratner — not only on the projects, but on the clandestine planning process, too.

    There are already many cheerleaders for Ratner’s City Tech tower. But until public officials answer reasonable questions about this backroom deal, and show us that the public, and not only Bruce Ratner, will benefit generously from this project, we will remain skeptical.

  8. #68


    Quote Originally Posted by NYguy View Post
    Bruce Ratner is planning to build ... a whopping 1,000-foot skyscraper that would dwarf the 512-foot Williamsburgh Savings Bank building, Brooklyn’s tallest.
    After more than half a century, it's about time something did!

  9. #69


    Here are a few pictures of what those yellow rods might look like on this building. These are pictures from a Piano building in Berlin (part of the Potsdamer Platz redevelopment that is attempting to piece East and West Berlin back together). The building is clad almost entirely in a bold yellow ceramic tile very similar to what appears in these renderings. Where there are windows the tile is replaced by ceramic rods. The effect is actually quite nice with the ceramic rods giving the facade a very nice depth (like NYT).

    I'm not saying that this is what will happen on this building, just giving an example of what the same architect has done in the past.
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  10. #70


    The NYT building was meant to be Piano's improvement on his efforts at Potsdamer Platz, so his treatment of the rods should be a bit more refined, here.

  11. #71
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    Yes, those rods are horrible, NYT's are much better.
    The yellow ceramic tiles in the pics are gorgeous, however. Now that, I could live with easily.
    Anyway, they're saying it's an old rendering so whatever.

  12. #72
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    GVNY, in addition to what others have said already, I'd just like to add one more: image.

    Don't underestimate how powerful a message an impressive skyline sends out. Imagine how less of an image we would have of say, Chicago, if it had Indianopolis' skyline or if Manhattan looked more like Hartford or Seattle looking like Tacoma instead.

    What would someone's impression of Brooklyn be if they saw a dense and tall skyline versus one that shared the same appearance as Wilmington Delaware?

    Image is very important.

  13. #73
    Kings County Loyal BrooklynLove's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Brooklyn, planet Earth


    if we ended up with exactly what we see in the rendering i'd be thrilled b/c this would represent a huge step forward for downtown brooklyn in moving toward the modern commercial urban center that it deserves to be. in my opinion there is no reason other than fear of change that downtown brooklyn should not have commerical highrise development on par with any major US downtown. the core of downtown bk is really no less sensible for this type of development than is the financial district of manhattan.

    i realize that the building is currently slated to be resi and academic space, but it would still accomplish the goal of breaking the metal inertia that is fueling all of this resistance to height in downtown bk.

    build this NOW.

  14. #74


    This area needs street level retail badly. I wonder if there will be any provision in Ratner's plans for it.

  15. #75
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    in Limbo


    Parents fear Brooklyn tower plan would hike health risk

    Monday, December 3rd 2007, 4:00 AM

    Neighbors of the tallest building proposed for Brooklyn are already worried.

    These Brooklynites distressed by the downsides of development are students, parents and staff of the George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School in downtown Brooklyn.

    "I know things must change, but I don't want them to change at the expense of my child's health," said parent Jessica Welch, whose ninth-grader daughter, Evadnie Lewis, 14, suffers from allergies and had asthma as a young girl.

    Renderings of the City Tech Tower - a New York City College of Technology project to be built by Nets Arena developer Forest City Ratner - were published last week.

    It is expected to be higher than the Williamsburgh Savings Bank tower, now the borough's tallest building.

    Westinghouse parents, students and staff listed the full gamut of woes associated with construction including dust, noise and vibrations, worrying particularly about air quality.

    The school is located near the busy intersection of Flatbush Ave. and Tillary St., so it already has air pollution problems, they said.

    "Parents are up in arms," said PTA President Jerome Lykes, noting that his daughter Shaeeta, 17, suffers from asthma.

    "She doesn't need any more dust going into her lungs."

    The school's only outdoor space, used mainly as a parking lot for teachers, may also be handed over to City Tech, said members of the school community.

    "DOE is really ready to give it up for their benefit and our detriment," said one staff member.

    Department of Education spokeswoman Margie Feinberg said in an e-mail that the project hasn't been "finalized."

    "We will work with CUNY to help minimize the disruption that can be caused by construction," she said.

    Officials from City Tech and Forest City Ratner declined to comment.

    Westinghouse parent Israel Rosario Jr. said his daughter, Dinesha Rosa, 21, attended the school while a Polytechnic University dorm was constructed nearby.

    "Kids were being prepared for the Regents. The construction noise wouldn't let them concentrate," he said, fearing his son, ninth-grader Israel Ricardo Rosario, 14, will face the same problem.

    "We don't want all that noise," said senior Andy Brutus, 17.

    Parents asked for the air conditioners and filters to counteract the noise and pollution. They also asked for monitoring of the air quality.

    But they all preferred that the project not go forward.

    "Our school is going to be looking like a little old hut. Next, we're afraid they'll scrap the school," said Patricia Joseph, mother of ninth-grader Kadeen, 14.

    © Copyright 2007

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