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Jets Unveil Significant Stadium Redesign

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Images Courtesy New York Sports and Convention Center

If people don’t like it, shrink it. Then hide it.

This seems a major rationale behind the redesign unveiled today for the New York Sports and Convention Center, aka the New York Jets Stadium, which may or may not sit on the far west side of Manhattan as the centerpiece of a new Hudson Yards district.

The new plan, unveiled by Jets President Jay Cross as well as Kohn Pedersen Fox principal Bill Pedersen, is both smaller and quieter than its previous iteration; a nod to complaints of grandiosity and a lack of urban integration from community members and design experts.

The new façade is dominated by a semi-transparent glass “veil” which cloaks the stadium, emphasizing lightness, say its designers, by “hovering” over the lower portions of the exterior and never touching the ground. The design, they add, is designed to reflect the complexity and scale of the neighborhood’s future instead of the titanic-sized industrial past of the harbor, which was the old design’s inspiration. Pedersen adds that the building, whose veil subtly folds at entrances, is designed to “become very quiet on the sky, and much more intense at the street level.”

To further stress a neighborhood scale, the design is almost 40% shorter, lacking the old stadium’s planned wind turbines (the Jets say that wind energy for the project will now be harvested upstate). A massive LCD screen on the east façade, designed by Bruce Mao Design, helps emphasize the horizontality of the building, drawing focus to the four to five stories instead of the entire mass of the façade.

The stadium’s fate is likely to be decided later this month as lawsuits continue to be settled and the city and state grapple over go-ahead. On first impression, many community critics seem unswayed by the new plans, still worried about the project’s size, its blockage of the waterfront, and the disruptions it will bring to the neighborhood.

“They can clad it in whatever they want, it’s not going to mask that it’s a stadium,” says local architect and activist Meta Brunzema. “I don’t think anyone’s opinion will be affected by this new design."

Sam Lubell