I used to praise the beautifully preserved rotunda and the space underneath it at the San Francisco Westfield Mall. It was amazing how the construction of this massive downtown mall managed to preserve the rotunda and how it generously provided a quiet and somewhat meditating space that was free of shopping activities. I thought maybe the developer cut a sweet deal with the city to provide this space in return for something lucrative.
But after my recent visit, I guess it wasn’t the case for this “privately-owned private” space. The space has been turned into a café area run by Le Boulange which is now a Starbuck-ized franchise. The transparent glass on the rotunda has been covered to make it into a background for some laser or light show. As a result, the original kind of larger-than-life experience has been ill-transformed into another shopping square footage filled with a sense of cheap and low-taste. In the end, the Westfield San Francisco is just another mall.
the sun-lit space before the conversion
the sun-lit rotunda before the conversion
856 market st, san Francisco – 3:03pm, nov 25, 2012