Violent acts and architecture.

June 2, 2010 at 7:31 pm 2 comments

Daniel Libeskind is one of my favorite living architects, in part because of his nerve to take on major memorial architecture (including the master plan of the new World Trade Center). One of the biggest reasons that I am drawn to architecture is because I believe in its power to affect people’s behaviors, feelings, and lives. Subsequently, a memorial for the dead needs to be designed with enormous care since those who will visit it will be particularly sensitive to its effects. In some ways, it’s the most personal kind of architecture, but it simultaneously has to be designed for the masses.

Several books, magazine covers, and interviews after his award of the new WTC in 2003, Libeskind can still talk about the project with an appropriate mix of delicateness and practicality. His most recent press (a fittingly efficient 30-minute interview) was published last month in the New York Times, and conducted and condensed by Vivian Marino (with photo by Fred R. Conrad). What’s nice is that Libeskind admits he’s not getting everything he wants but still sounds confident that the core ideas remain alive in the project. He also adds a personal note about how he lives near the site and watched the original towers go up while he was in school, facts that I personally had missed in all the earlier hype surrounding the choice of Libeskind’s design.

Memory Foundations rendering

Beyond the insight into the state of the World Trade Center, I also appreciated the final exchange of Libeskind’s interview:

Q Is there a style you loathe?
A I loathe neutral architecture. The idea of creating a space — a box — with no expression in it. To me it’s a very violent act.

June 2’s daily design idea is be more like Daniel: compromise while staying aligned to your ideas, make your work personal, and create spaces with expression.


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Carrie  |  June 3, 2010 at 12:06 am

    Libeskind likes to overstate and misrepresent his current (negligible), involvement at Ground Zero. He was dismissed from any role in the Freedom Tower and he was not offered a single commission for any other building at the site. His museum in Denver leaked for three years (not very impressive for a building that overshot its budget). Libeskind’s ROM in Toronto was awarded the “Worst Building of the Decade” title by the Washington Post which described it as “ugly AND useless”. – Go on, Google it. – Which might have influenced Daniel’s wife Nina to hire architect Alex Gorlin to design the Libeskind family home.

    • 2. Trey Dillinger  |  June 3, 2010 at 7:15 pm

      No doubt about it. Libeskind is a fast-talking hypocrite. He doesn’t fool me one tiny little bit.


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