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US star architect wins Swiss commission

A model of Daniel Libeskind's design for the new Bern leisure centre

(Keystone)

The renowned US architect, Daniel Libeskind, has won a commission from the Migros retail group to construct a vast leisure and shopping centre on the outskirts of Bern.

Libeskind, who won international recognition for his Jewish museum in Berlin, beat off competition from four other world-class architects to secure the commission.

The winning project envisages a complex of buildings in the shape of a hand, with separate fingers housing a hotel, cinema, swimming pool, theatre and congress centre. Homes for 2,500 people are to be built in the vicinity.

According to Libeskind, the concept is for a place where shopping, culture and recreation, city and country come together.

"This will be a centre which combines the past and the future, a place for the 21st century," Libeskind said.

His project leader, Barbara Holzer, said the idea was for a building in harmony with its surroundings.

The new complex is expected to create 800 new jobs and be completed by 2005.

swissinfo with agencies

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