When you hear about a mall that it probably 1.5 kilometers in length, that’s divided into zones that are themed as China, Egypt, India, Persia and so on, you might smile, cringe or do both. But after visiting the Ibn Battuta mall today convinced me I was doing neither. When one enters the Persia hall, one cannot but stand in awe, dwarfed by the magnificence of its ornate, tiled dome. And that’s just the beginning of the (religious?) experience.
Yes it is crazy, and yes it drives me mad when I see the best of ancient traditional architecture just copied and pasted for the glorification of shopping. And days it completely destroys a sever year old kid’s sense of history, place and architecture. But it WORKS. The craftsmanship and effort put into this mall is just amazing. People love it. Everyone is just standing there taking pictures of the dome.
Who of us can visit the four corners of the earth to see the architectural treasures of the East and West. just come to Dubai and you can enveloped by the wonders of world architecture, while drinking a latte. For heaven’s sake this mall even has a guided tour!
If shopping is really the NEW religion, is that we still lack a NEW architectural language to glorify its places of worship? Are we like the designers of the first cars, which looked more or less like ‘horseless carriages’. What are the implications of such extreme examples of copying and eclecticism. Lots of questions, that quickly dissipate at the sight of the next special offer!
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