Daniel Libeskind, born in Poland is a Jewish architect currently based in New York. His parents survived the holocaust of the second world war. Libeskind in an interview with Harvard said, “Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired me to go beyond the obvious”. On his honeymoon in 1969, Libeskind and his wife Nina went on a ride in the US watching the building by Frank Lloyd Wright. The 72 years old architect believes that every building tells a story and evokes emotions. Libeskind’s work is mainly recognized for its intersecting planes, edges, angular form, and often use of diagonally sliced windows. A style he applied in various museums and memorials. Apart from museums he has designed conference centers, shopping complexes, mixed-use buildings, and skyscrapers. 

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Daniel Libeskind ©Heather Sten

Westside Shopping and leisure center is one of the creations by Libeskind. It is a complex located on the outskirts of the city of Bern. A mixed-use facility center with shops, restaurants, hotel, residence, conference halls, swimming pool, and a theatre. The facility creates an exciting gateway into the city as it dramatically positions itself over the major highway and is integrated into the city with its highway exit and train stop. It was completed in 2008 for Neue Brünnen AG. The location of the centre is at Bern’s A1 highway, connected to various transit networks. The total area covered by the building is 1,500,000 sq. ft

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Outside view of the complex from the highway creating a gateway to the city of Bern and its connection to train and transport networks. ©Bitterbredt

The complex covers 23,500 sq.m. of the area with 55 shops, these shops are spacious and top labels can be found here with the latest fashion and accessories. There are 10 bars and restaurants that offer an authentic range of international variety of foods to suit every pocket. The wellness centre with Liverpool with a jet stream facility, wild canyon, Asian spa, roman-Irish in the sauna, or steam bath take you to a world of healing and soothing. The area of the wellness centre is 10,000 sq.m. The luxurious multiplex with ample facilities has the capacity of 11 auditoriums with 2400 seats. There is a hotel with 144 rooms providing a family space to the occupants and 11 seminar rooms to cater to the needs of the corporate industry. The parking capacity in the complex is huge with 1275 car parking spots and 400 bicycle spots. There is a wide range of materials used in the construction of this shopping complex i.e., reinforced concrete skeleton, steel structures, facade with prefabricated modular wooden elements, and metal.  The site also has a residential complex for senior citizens with 95 apartments and 20 caring rooms.

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Outside view of the complex from the highway creating a gateway to the city of Bern. ©Bitterbredt

This urban project caters to 55 shops, 10 restaurants and bars, a hotel, a multiplex cinema, and an indoor water park with a wellness center and housing. This mixed-use program provides day and night facilities offering endless amenities and services, just like a city within a city.

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Wooden cuts of the window visible in façade, new dynamic leisure zones. ©Bitterbredt

The windows are cut into the light wood façade, these windows become illuminated at night standing out against the building. Libeskind aimed to combine the facility’s wide range of activities into one harmonious center, including a bird’s-eye window in the food court and spa area.

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Internal View of the complex and the panoramic window. Photographer: ©Bitterbredt

The concept idea incorporates design and architecture in a way that welcomes glimpses of the natural world into the generally enclosed world of a huge metropolitan shopping complex. In its new architecture structure for recreation and fun, Westside is undoubtedly bound to become a neighborhood and regional attraction as well as a world-class destination.

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Westside Shopping and Leisure Center ©Bitterbredt

The cubes forming Westside create openings to the various plazas also because of the bath. They are defined by crystalline form with angular sides that look like pieces of rock breaking through a cube.

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Westside Shopping and Leisure Center ©Bitterbredt

The steel-concrete construction is meant as a sort of a trapezoidal crystal where the structure creates openings, galleries, and arcades, complete with shops and catering facilities. The interior is almost entirely plastered white. The grid structure of the crystal is roofed with zinc plates at the points where it cuts the facade and therefore the roof.

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Swimming Pool Inside the Complex and various newly introduced dynamics of the building. ©Bitterbredt
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Night view of the outside of the complex. ©Bitterbredt

The wooden layered facade amalgamates the city with the countryside while accenting Westside as a major destination. Right-angled, cut boxes constructed from steel concrete with a prop grid of 8,10 x 8,10 meters create classy rooms and generate different external areas. The views allow you to see the highway, gateway to the living area, the railway tracks, and the wider landscape to the south. This is a unique outside element of Westside Bern-Brünnen. During the day the partly dark tanned window cuts contrast with the sunshine 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.

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Plan of the Westside complex. ©Daniel Libeskind

The design includes lower and higher rooms, alleys, and two plazas where the changing of daylight can be noticed through roof cuts. The two plazas each have individual identities. One plaza, reflecting the day, is oriented toward the landscape and opens up at the other end to the bath. The other plaza, reflecting the night, connects to the cinema and the hotel while providing an atmosphere for nightlife and catering.

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Sections of The Complex. ©Daniel Libeskind
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Model of The Complex. ©Daniel Libeskind
Vibhuti Bhambri
Author

A highly motivated architecture student, environmentalist, reader & an energetic person, Vibhuti Bhambri is interested in various sustainable, historical, traditional and economical aspects of architecture, curious to learn, research and spread this knowledge via blogs and writings. Aiming to use knowledge and experience in day to day life.

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