Letter to the Editor> Addressing themselves to the Skyline

Letter to the Editor> Addressing themselves to the Skyline

High above Manhattan. (FLICKR / CARUBA)

[ Editor’s Note: The following are reader-submitted responses in reference to William Menking’s editorial “Will de Blasio Make Progress on Design?” (AN 05_04.09.2014). Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com]

In your editorial “Will de Blasio Make Progress on Design?”, you seem to suggest that there is an inherent conflict between the development priorities of the new administration and the accepted tenets of good urban design. We disagree.

Taking the agreement to increase the amount of affordable housing at the Domino site as an ominous sign of the mayor’s indifference to the quality of public experience does not support your case. Rather, it represents a serious misreading of the longstanding plans for, and the recent history of, our project, which began detailed public and design review under the Bloomberg administration during its final eighteen months.

There simply were no hastily negotiated changes at Domino. Neither, contrary to what you wrote, has the height of the planned buildings increased since 2012. In fact, the well-calibrated massings remain exactly the same as those that this administration—like the previous—understands to be necessary in order to create a major new public amenity for the benefit of all: a thrilling extension of the life of Williamsburg, with new streets and new parks, exciting architecture, and new gathering spaces designed to the highest standards to promote the fullest use.

And, yes—there will be new towers, too: opening so the adjoining neighborhood can reach the waterfront, rising to address themselves to the skyline, exactly as (two mayors, the City Council, and the vast majority of the local community board agree) a vibrant, hopeful, and proud symbol of the new Brooklyn should.

Vishaan Chakrabarti
Kimberly Holden
Jonathan L. Mallie
Greg Pasquarelli
Christopher Sharples
Coren Sharples
William Sharples
SHoP Architects, New York