Daniel Libeskind

(b. 1946)

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(1946– ).

Polish-born American architect. He studied with John Hejduk (see also New York Five) and enjoyed a varied career in architectural academe where, it has been said, he was essentially ‘isolated from the practicalities and resultant compromise inherent in building’. He designed the City Edge project, Berlin (1987), an influential proposal that ripped through established geometries of urban fabric, responding to the logic of the Berlin Wall by slicing up territory, so his approach is the antithesis of that of Léon Krier and others who have rediscovered the city and argued for the repair and restoration of traditional forms, spaces, volumes, and streets. In 1989 he won the competition to design the Jewish Museum, Berlin (opened 2001—its voids supposedly represent the silences left by the Holocaust, and its slash-like lines connect the addresses of some of Berlin's vanished Jews, though how this is intended to be read is a moot point), and he employed similar bleak geometries in the Felix Nussbaum Museum, Osnabrück, Germany (opened 1998—the in-teriors of which cause visitors to experience an alarming lack of orientation). He is associated with Deconstructivism, notably at the Imperial War Museum, Salford Quays, Manchester (2000–2—composed as a series of shard-like fragments). His master-plan for the replacement of Yamasaki's World Trade Center, NYC (2002–3—which will carry a burden of symbolism, interpretations of which may not be what are intended), and the Studio Weil, Port d'Andraxt, Mallorca (2001–3), demonstrate his handling of two projects differing hugely in scale. Contrary to popular ideas, he produced a conceptual design for the Ground Zero ‘Freedom’ tower: the final result (largely the creation of David M. Childs of Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill) may be quite different. His first completed London building was the Graduate Centre, London Metropolitan University, Holloway Road (2001–4—Libeskind claims it was inspired by the constellation of Orion), the jagged external form of which is an event on the street, rather than any attempt to draw together a disparate collection of unrelated elements. His extension to the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada (2002–5), is in a similar noisy style. Libeskind's manner of building has been seen as paradigmatic by some, but it does not co-exist serenely with established urban grain, and a certain unease has been expressed by others about the proliferation of Deconstructivist buildings.

Kalman (1994);Jencks (2002);Johnson & Wigley (1988);Libeskind (1997, 2001);A. Müller (ed.) (1990);Salingaros et al. (2004);The Times (13 Jan. 2004), T2, 16

Subjects: Architecture.

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