In 1979, Neil Young released an album entitled Rust Never Sleeps. Hip-Hop entrepreneur Jay-Z is taking that as a literal statement and has covered his new arena in the stuff. What do you do if you just built a $1 billion state-of-the-art stadium? Well if you’re Jay-Z you cover it rust.
That’s right the entire exterior of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn is covered in rust by design. The New York Times featured a piece that highlighted the fact that the $1 billion palace is covered by roughly 12,000 shingles of ‘weathering steel’ which is sheets of metal that have literally been hyper-rusted for what is supposed to be a sleek look.
“Weathering steel — often known by its old brand name, Cor-Ten — develops a fine layer of rust, which then acts as a protective coating against moisture, slowing its own corrosion process almost to a stop. While it can look suspiciously unfinished to the casual observer, it has many fans in the world of art and architecture.”
- Excerpt from New York Times article
Last time I checked, driving around in a rusted station wagon as a high school kid didn’t result in paparazzi flashing cameras at me and super models peeling off layers of clothing and jumping into the shaggin-wagon for some naked fun. What it produced instead was agonizingly annoying scraping noises when I turned and gross rust puddles under the car.
So the mindset behind covering your area with the stuff is beyond me, but apparently it’s a trend that’s catching on in New York. To get a good look at the ‘weathering steel’, check out this video from nycurbed.com:
At first, my thought was, this is a setup for some stylized grand opening where the rust would be washed away and the new era of Nets basketball would be ushered in with a poetic wave of awesome.
But this is actually the design the Nets will have for their stadium until they change it — if they change it.
And the whole bit about rust never sleeping, as Kelly Dwyer points out, it bleeds. And that too, is part of the design of the Nets stadium. When it rains, the stadium will literally bleed onto the sidewalk. Perhaps this is Jay-Z’s way of flying in the face of conformity when it comes to making eco-friendly stadiums. The effect may be cool the first couple times, but it’s going to ware off.
New York is a very scene town, and the worn out look is in. Jeans, guitars, furniture — it’s all cool to have broken and faded out, washed out stuff these days as though we’ve been put into a time warp and sent back the Kurt Cobain 90′s. So it’s no surprise that this stadium is going with an edgy design with the rust, but the question is, will it last?