Daniel Libeskind is a Polish American architect known for his complex and emotional designs. In his TED Talk, he shares 17 dimensions that overview his visions for architecture which is raw, emotional, radical and something that offers inspiration for the pursuit of bold creativity.

TED Talk for Architects: Daniel Libeskind: 17 words of architectural inspiration - Sheet1
Daniel Libeskind ©ted.com

Daniel Libeskind possesses an overwhelming display of creativity, he has been a poet, and an opera set designer, and a musician before entering in architecture. It is no surprise he has thus taken the world of skylines by storm. His works show a juxtaposition of uniqueness and emotion that bring out the beauty of complexity in architecture. He is ambitious and many times become a topic of controversies because of his bold designs. 

His TED talk recorded in February 2009 in Long Beach, California is almost 19minutes of his visions for architecture in 17 words. He inspires through his unique approach and brave ideologies that he seems to believe is needed in architecture in these times of evangelical pessimism. He comprehends 17 words with their counterpoints to give a brief trailer of his ideologies.

“A space that doesn’t always follow us like a dog that has been trained to follow us, but moves ahead into directions of demonstrating other possibilities, other experiences, that have never been part of the vocabulary of architecture.”

TED Talk for Architects: Daniel Libeskind: 17 words of architectural inspiration - Sheet2
Dresden Museum of Military History ©domus.com

Things he believes are of important architecture or dimensions he works with: Unexpected, raw, inexplicable, pointed, radical, real, democratic, complex, risky, communicative, emotional, optimism, political, hand, memorable, space, and expressive. To briefly explain his visions, some of his words are as follows:

  • To create a space that never existed. A space that we have never entered except in our minds and our spirits. 
  • Architecture is not based on concrete and steel and the elements of the soil. It’s based on wonder. And that is what architecture is, it is a story. [1]Anything that has been made can be unmade. Anything that has been made can be made better. 
  • Optimism is what drives Architecture forward. Architecture is that complete ecstasy that the future can be better. Today, we have this evangelical pessimism all around us, and it is the time that architecture can thrive with big ideas, ideas that are not small. 
  • Believe in expression. Think expressive. 
  • It is a living connection that is part of this cosmic and a story that is certainly ongoing. Architecture is a confrontation with our own senses.
  • Emotion is needed. Even that mind is emotional. Emotion is a dimension that is important to introduce into city space[2]
  • Inexplicable. Architecture is not the language of words. 
  • The complexity of thought, the complexity of layers of meaning is overwhelming. More reason to not shy away. 
  • The reality of architecture is visceral. It’s not intellectual, it’s the reality that we touch.
  • Architecture that is full of tension that goes beyond itself to reach the human heartbreaking the shackles of habits. 
  • The desire to communicate more than just the blunt thought, that blunt technique, but something that can point in various directions.
  • Memory is the world. Without memory, there would be nowhere to turn. 
  • Architecture is not mute it is communicative. It tells a story that can reach obscure desires. 
  • Risk is what underlies the world. The risk that moves architecture even with all its flaws, into space which is much better than the ever again repeated hollowness of a ready-made thing. 
  • It is about space, not fashion. Space that we need to breathe, space that we need to dream. Carving out space where nature can enter the domestic world of a city. 
TED Talk for Architects: Daniel Libeskind: 17 words of architectural inspiration - Sheet3
Example: Ground Zero, New York ©architizer.com

He has dedicated most of his illustrious career to commemorate his heritage through visually dynamic buildings, with their striking angles that defy normal architectural dimensions. It is no doubt he is one of the most creative architects of our time. His visions may hold utmost importance but as always they depend on one’s perspective. To architects who believe in minimalism, this may seem an exaggerated version of architecture but the fact that creativity and boldness in this world have always kept architects on their toes to always go beyond. The TED Talk provides a great platform to understand what drives an architect of his position. It is evident that many varieties of philosophy float around us, however, it is interesting to keep learning and restabilizing our views, again and again, to not be left behind in the ever-developing world of architecture.


[1](Libeskind, n.d.)

[2](Libeskind, n.d.)


Ashmita Gupta is an Architecture student who believes art is the medicine of life. A book sniffer and an indie music addict, she is often driven with curiosity and hence finds her thrill in art and literature.