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  Name   Daniel Libeskind
  Born   May 12, 1946
  Nationality   USA
  Official website   libeskind.com

Daniel Libeskind gained recognition as one of the world’s foremost deconstructivist architects through his participation in the New York Museum of Modern Art’s “Deconstructivist Architecture” exhibition (1988), which included like-minded architects Peter Eisenman, Rem Koolhaas, Frank O. Gehry, and Coop Himmelb(l)au. In 1989, Libeskind won an international competition for the Jewish Museum extension to the Berlin History Museum (1999). This project was his first major commission and proved to be pivotal for his subsequent architectural career.

Libeskind first attracted attention with his architectural drawings titled Micromegas that were devoid of perspective, context, and narrative. They were produced in 1979 and exhibited in Helsinki (1980), London (1980), and Zurich (1981). One of his most prestigious early awards was the first prize in the Leone di Pietra at the Venice Biennale (1985) for his “Three Lessons in Architecture” or the “three machines” for reading, writing, and memory.

Libeskind’s proposal for the Jewish Museum extension in Berlin (1989) achieved international acclaim and criticism for its unique and unconventional forms and intentions. The building is designed in the form of two bars of spaces, one called the void (the space of loss and disenfranchisement), which is built in a straight line, and the other the space of the observer (the space of the collections and the rest of the museum’s functions), which is a broken, folded bar that crosses and recrosses the void. The angles and lines that generate the form of the museum inflect and refer to places in the city of Berlin in which the history of ideas emerged. The void suggests the loss of this history, as well as of the individuals who contributed to it, in the Holocaust.

These external references are coupled with the stark and claustrophobic character of the building that evokes the anxiety and angst associated with the loss of human life and intellectual history in the Holocaust. The project, therefore, is a profoundly exegetical work that evokes both emotional and imaginary interests in a complex mapping of the nature of human existence today generally and of Berlin and Jewish history specifically.

Libeskind’s writings on architecture and architectural theory have been translated into most major languages. He has criticized what he sees as a problem in modern human culture and the architecture that it produces, constantly challenging the architectural community to create a different kind of architecture, one that is not determined or valued from a purely utilitarian, economic, and visual point of view. Instead, his work, as he describes it, is meant to evoke experiences and engage the spirit. His architecture lies at the nexus of painting, mathematics, and music. This aggregate of interests testifies to his avid exploration of these subjects, to a broad education in literature, music, art, and philosophy. Moreover, Libeskind’s extensive teaching career testifies to his interest in alternative architecture.

His other projects include, among many, a master plan and elements of a “City Boundaries” urban design scheme for Groningen (with Fokko van der Veen, 1988) in the Netherlands; a winning competition entry for the UNY Corporation Pavilion (1990) in Nagoya; an urban design competition for the Potsdamerplatz area (1991) in Berlin; the dramatic spire-shaped extension to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (begun in 1996, expected to be completed in 2006); the Bremen Philharmonic Hall (1995-98) in Bremen, Germany; and a garden for the Polderlands (1995) in the Netherlands.

In September of 2002, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, in conjunction with the city and state of New York, established an international design competition for a memorial for the World Trade Center site that was devastated by terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001. In February 2003, a project titled Memory Foundations by Libeskind was honored as the winner. Libeskind designed a museum with an entrance at the Ground Zero Memorial Site that leads viewers down into a quiet, meditative space of reflection. “To commemorate those lost lives, I created two large public places, the Park of Heroes and the Wedge of Light,” Libeskind stated. “Each year on September 11th between the hours of 8:46 a.m., when the first airplane hit and 10:28 a.m., when the second tower collapsed, the sun will shine without shadow, in perpetual tribute to altruism and courage.” A dramatic, glass-encased 1,776-foot-tall spire will create a powerful new skyline for Lower Manhattan, while a new rail station with a concourse linking the trains and subways will coalesce in a bustling urban space including a performing arts center, office towers, hotels, street-level shops, and restaurants that reaffirm life in the aftermath of tragedy.


Jean La Marche

Sennott R.S. Encyclopedia of twentieth century architecture, Vol.2 (G-O).  Fitzroy Dearborn., 2005.


12 May 1946 Born in Lodz, Poland;

1960 immigrated to the United States;

1965 naturalized in the United States;

1970 attended The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York (B.S., architecture);

1972 received a master of arts in history and theory of architecture at the School of Comparative Studies, University of Essex, England;

1975-77 Lecturer, Architectural Association, London;

1978-85 head, department of architecture, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan;

1985-1994 various professorships at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, University of Naples, Italy, University of Illinois, Chicago, Ohio State University, University of California, Los ‘Angeles, University of London, Danish Academy of Art, Copenhagen, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, and Weisensee Academy, Berlin;

1986-89 Founder, director, Architecture Intermundium, Milan;

1986-89 Senior Scholar, J. Paul Getty Foundation;

1987 First prize in the Berlin International Bauausstellung (IBA) urban design competition;

1993 first prize in several open and invited competitions since, including the Felix Nussbaum Haus (museum, 1998) in Osnabriick, Germany;

1994 Elected to the German Akademie de Kiinste and the German Society of Architects;

1996 received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Architecture;

Married to architect Nina Libeskind: 3 children. Partnership with wife, Berlin. His practice, Studio Daniel Libeskind, operates in Berlin and California.


For an overview- of Libeskind’s  philosophy, see Libeskind and also Jarzombek. An abbreviated curriculum vitae is published in Papadakis 1993, and additional biographical sketches can be found in Hodge and in Johnson and Langmead.

Betsky, Aron, Violated Perfection: Architecture and the Fragmentation of the Modern, New York: Rizzoli, 1990

Hodge, Daniel H., Daniel Libeskind: An Introduction and Bibliography, Monticello , Illinois, Vance Bibliographies, 1990

Jarzombek, Mark, “Ready-Made Traces in the Sand, “ Auemblage, 19 (December 1992)

Johnson, Donald Leslie, and Donald Langmead, Makers of 20th Century Modern Architecture: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1997

Johnson, Philip, and Mark Wigley (editors), Deconstructivist Architecture, New York: Museum of Modern Art  , and Boston: Little Brown, 1988

Libeskind, Daniel. Extension to the Berlin Museum with Jewish Museum Department, edited by Kristine Feireisa, Berlin: Ernst and Sohn, 1992

Papadakis, Andreas (editor), Theory and Experimentation: An Intellectual Extravaganza, London : Academy Editions, 1993

Papadakis , Andreas, Catherine Cooke, and Andrew Benjamin, (editors), Destruction: Omnibus Volume, New York: Rizzoli, and London: Academy Editions, 1989







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