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Why The Brand New Barclays Center Is Covered In Rust


Barclays Center

It's one month and counting until the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn opens its doors. But because of an interesting choice in construction materials, the building already looks as though it has aged decades.

The material of the arena's facade is made of what is known as weathering steel, or Cor-Ten, The New York Times' Elizabeth A. Harri writes. The steel develops a layer of rust which protects the metal against moisture, and slows the corrosion process. The result is a tawny hue that stains the concrete below orange as the steel drips—not exactly a passerby's dream.

To prevent the steel's color from bleeding onto the sidewalk (and daily commuters), all 12,000 pieces of the Barclays Center steel were weathered at an Indianapolis Plant before they ever reached Flatbush Avenue. The steel was put through more than a dozen wet-and-dry cycles a day, which is roughly comparable to weathering the material naturally for six years.

“This should keep [the rust] to a minimum," said executive vice president and director at Forest City Ratner Robert Sanna, the developer of the Barclays Center, to The NY Times. "And you won’t have to worry that it will stain your sweater as you walk by.”

Though weathering steel is not an unheard-of material in New York City architecture, it has garnered mixed reviews from casual observers. But with a sold-out Jay-Z concert on the day of the opening and a host of other popular acts scheduled throughout the fall, chances are the new arena won't have a problem drawing a crowd despite its looks.

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