From the astounding architecture of the Jewish Museum to the jarring juxtaposition of old and new in the Royal Ontario Museum, Daniel Libeskind is a famous American-Polish architect involved in designing a diverse array of cultural, commercial, and urban projects around the world. From designing furniture to buildings, installations to artworks; Daniel Libeskind is a multifaceted contemporary architect who believes in designing practical yet poetic spaces. Informed with work that reflects a blend of architecture and history, Libeskind’s designs are contemporary and embedded in the understanding of the greater cultural context. His resonant, symbolic designs are a result of his passion for art, literature, philosophy, and music.
Here are 10 interesting facts about Daniel Libeskind:
- Daniel Libeskind is an architect, professor, artist, and designer. After winning the competition for the construction of the Jewish Museum in Berlin, with his wife Nina Libeskind as a partner, he established Studio Libeskind in Berlin in 1989. Later in 2003, he moved his studio to New York City; with over 50 employees. His studio is involved in a practice of optimism, set to design expressive, innovative, and bold architecture with concerns of budget, functionality, clients, and also the community. The studio approaches the design with a belief in the future, but also by remembering the past.
- Daniel Libeskind is one of the pioneers of deconstructivism in architecture. Deconstructivism is the idea of having a dynamic relationship between contrasting elements. Deconstructivism is characterized by ideas of fragmentation, the use of non-rectilinear shapes, and manipulation of ideas of structure’s surface. His architecture is marked by sharp yet aesthetic, bold yet expressive faces to the building profiles. The contemporary forms have an escalated psychological appeal.
- Born on May 12, 1946, in Poland, Daniel Libeskind studied the accordion as a child. Later, he moved to New York City with his family at the age of 13. Before joining architecture, he had been a virtuoso accordion player. He studied architecture and then went on to work for Richard Meier and also for deconstructivist architect Peter Eisenman. He discovered his love for architecture through the path of liberal arts-literature, philosophy, and music. He believes that architecture is abstract, like music.
- Before starting his studio, he worked as a professor in several universities. His first building Felix Nussbaum Haus was built when he was 52 years of age. He says that he has lived his life in reverse, he did his reflection before building anything. He was an academic until 43 of age and then started practicing after 52.
- He has completed many buildings from museums to concert halls, hotels to convention centers, university buildings, residences, and shopping centers. He was born to Jewish parents who were holocaust survivors. Daniel Libeskind’s unexpected, sculptural and gravity-defying architecture is greatly shaped by his childhood and his diverse cultural backgrounds.
- Daniel Libeskind has participated in many competitions and also won many of them. When Libeskind won the competition to design the Jewish Museum, he moved to Berlin to be near the site. The Jewish Museum won him international recognition instantly with a design that was complex, emotional, and enthralling. With his groundbreaking, controversial designs he aims at expanding the possibilities of built environments like never seen before. His design for the World Trade Centre is about resilience, tragedy, emotion, and memory. The exemplary designs and approach to architecture are original, thoughtful, and sustainable.
- At 73 years, Daniel Libeskind thinks that retiring is no option for him because he does what he loves and he does not need to break from work. As an architect, he is multidimensional, focusing on drawing, costing, model making, and discussing with clients. Daniel Libeskind has a non-linear way of thinking, without a start or end but with a focal point. He mentions that architecture is radical and expressive. Radical architecture is his confrontation of life through the senses. Libeskind has widely spoken on architecture in various universities and summits, with many expressions and installations inspired by him.
- One important element and source of inspiration in Libeskind’s designs is the importance of written words. Words are often inscribed in walls of his museums, with letters giving shape to the architecture of the space. James Joyce’s use of language, its ambiguity, and its complexity is what Daniel Libeskind thinks about when making plans.
- Daniel Libeskind is the author of many books including ‘Edge of Order’, ‘Through the Lens of Faith’, ‘Jewish Museum, Berlin’, etc. The book ‘Edge of Order’ showcases Libeskind’s work through stories, processes, and inspiration. He strongly believes that every human is capable of understanding architecture and designing it.
- The notion of tradition in architecture has always inspired him. According to him, history is not over, it’s something urgent, embedded in traditions. Designs need to address their history and the memory attached to it.