A controversial Daniel Libeskind designed shopping and leisure centre in Switzerland has just welcomed its 1millionth visitor in just 50 days. Westside Shopping and Leisure Centre in Bern exceeded all expectations for attendance from its very first day when it welcomed 67,000 people through its doors.
Despite its obvious popularity with shoppers, however, the Polish-American creator has been slated for his design with one WAN reader stating: “I wonder how (Libeskind)can still be designing projects like this, capital, energy and materials wasteful, while, slowly but steadily, architecture turns ‘green’ in almost all developed world...” Another reader added, “We were really impressed by Libeskind's Jewish Museum in Berlin which with it's painful juxaposition of incongruous shapes describes the horrendous history of pogroms and holocaust. When he transfers the same aesthetic to a shopping centre (sic) the once powerful symbolism as well as the respect for the architect is sadly broken.”
Libeskind, however, describes the project in terms of progression. Stating at a press conference before the opening Libeskind said, “I think the 21st Century will create a completely new architecture for everyday life.
“We are used to that division between culture and commerce, but I think in the 21st century this division will be completely blurred, because what we’ve done here is to introduce a culture dimension to an everyday activity.”
Niki May Young