Saturday, June 02, 2007

Not a Good Week to be a Controversial Brooklyn Architect: Scarano Rally Planned

One begins to get the sense that this is not a good time to be an architect who can be used as the poster boy for everything that is wrong with Brooklyn development. When a Carroll Gardens resident leading the charge against the controversial Heavy Metal Big Red Brick Building on Smith Street passed along word that Council Member Bill de Blasio was very interested in community objections to the project, we thought something might be up. Mr. de Blasio is said to be considering a run for Borough President and seeking issues that will help sharpen his public image. He has not necessarily won ardent admirers among neighborhood activists working on development and construction issues in their communities.

Yesterday afternoon, a South Slope resident passed along a press release from Council Member de Blasio's office that is headlined: "Join Councilmember Bill de Blasio and Stand up Against Illegal Construction!" He is planning a rally on Wednesday, June 6 at 12:30 in front of the Big Red Brick Building (identified in the press release as "Robert Scarano's latest project") at 360 Smith Street. The email noted "irony as thick as" the humid air last night, given that Mr. de Blasio has not been outspoken about many construction horrors that have taken place already and that other buildings designed by Mr. Scarano could be said to better symbolize "illegal construction" or simply architecture that is not beloved by the community such as The Bunker and the Carroll Gardens Hell Building.

Blogger Pardon Me for Asking writes of the de Blasio interest in the issue:
My, my? Will wonders never cease? Is Bill DeBlasio actually getting involved in the Scarano Smith Street building debacle? A showdown between De Blahblah and Scarano? That's priceless. Finally a worthwhile cause for our Councilman to pursue, one that will actually help Carroll Gardens. Now if we could only get him to change his mind about some other, bigger Brooklyn construction projects.
In any case, the release says:
We want Robert Scarano and any other architect, developer or contractor working in this city to know they must be held accountable for their actions. Anyone who violates zoning codes, building codes and practices unsafe construction is not wanted in our neighborhood!

The New York City Department of Buildings has already relieved Scarano of his self-certification. Now we are calling on the New York State Department of Education to strip Robert Scarano of his architecture license.
Meantime, Mr. Scarano's Wikipedia entry, which had been revised by someone to identify him as a "visionary" architect has been re-revised to label him a "controversial" architect.

One can see the outlines of tough times, not to mention significant political irony, ahead.

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