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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Westside Shopping and Leisure Centre, Bern, Switzerland

Daniel Libeskind designed shopping centre to open in October
People will no longer stand for drab shopping malls according to Daniel Libeskind, in his words: "At the beginning of the 21st century there is a need to address contemporary social needs and desires and an emerging economic potential in order to create a new generation of shopping centers and leisure facilities."

Westside Shopping and Leisure Centre is the answer to a need to integrate functionality with the modern needs of architectural character and sustainability by “fusing together the dimensions of commerce, culture and leisure."

Comprised of 141, 500 sq m of built area the Centre, due to complete in early October, will include 23,500 sq m of shops, a Wellness Center, a Multiplex cinema with 11 auditoriums, a hotel and senior residency comprising of 95 apartments and 20 caring homes.

The building design integrates the landscape and the different directions of the site while providing a unique look to the external areas. Extensive window cuts in varying designs open up the facade. This has the effect of creating either a panoramic window for the food court and wellness area or a web of natural light for the circulation area. Furthermore, the views allow you to see the highway, gateway to the living area, the railway tracks and the widespread landscape to the south. This is a unique outside element of Westside BrĂ¼nnen. During the day the partly dark tanned window cuts contrast with the light wood facade. At night they are illuminated so that the parts of the structure disappear in the darkness, similar to a picture puzzle, so that from the outside the cuts are recognized as lines.

"Architecture is no longer considered a footnote, but is a fundamental means of engaging and extending the experience of the visitor toward new dynamic leisure horizons. In this way, the entire shopping mall becomes a stage – a veritable vitrine - for public performance,” says Libeskind.

“By configuring both the external and internal spaces in an innovative and efficient manner, the complex provides synthetic entertainment for a wide public. It is a place of celebration, enjoyment and consumption in which people can spend many hours in a variety of atmospheres and activities from shopping to dining, swimming to living all within a lively and magical environment. By providing access to audiences of all ages and sectors of society, the new center becomes a multi-layered invitation to all."
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