A colossal, spiritless box, it would fit more comfortably in a cornfield than at one of the busiest intersections of a vibrant metropolis.” That’s how architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff described Ellerbe Beckett’s spartan reduction of Frank Gehry’s original design for the proposed new Brookyn Nets arena, a review that clearly stuck in the craw of Atlantic Yards landgrabber Bruce Ratner.

Assisted by NYC firm SHoP, a new collaborative design with Beckett was presented by Ratner yesterday, with the Nets owner promising NBA action in Brooklyn perhaps as soon as the 2011-2012 season. That’s if a 4th or 5th design isn’t commissioned first, however. From the New York Post’s Rich Calder :

The building consists of three separate but woven bands. A main concourse is placed right at street level, allowing a direct view to and from Flatbush and Atlantic avenues. Large areas of glass at street level make it not only pedestrian-friendly, but also encourage a strong visual connection to the surrounding urban neighborhood, the developer says.

œThe Barclays Center will quickly become an iconic part of the Brooklyn landscape, said Mr. Ratner. œThe design is elegant and intimate and also a bold architectural statement that will nicely complement the surrounding buildings and neighborhoods.

œThe arena design is irrelevant, said Daniel Goldstein of the opposition group Develop Don™t Destroy Brooklyn. œDesigns continue to come and go, but they change nothing. It™s all lipstick on a corrupt pig, window-dressing on a boondoggle.”

The state™s highest court, the Court of Appeals, in October plans to hear a legal challenge by Goldstein™s group over the use of eminent domain to seize private land for the Atlantic Yards project. While the developer has won lower court rulings in the case, a victory by opponents here could doom the project.