Libeskind is often classed as an architect of memory, of death or of monuments. This is true for his earlier paper works and his writings, informed by his education at the The Cooper Union with John Hedjuk and at Essex University... [more]
Libeskind is often classed as an architect of memory, of death or of monuments. This is true for his earlier paper works and his writings, informed by his education at the The Cooper Union with John Hedjuk and at Essex University with Dalibor Vesely, but his later career sucesses following the World Trade Centre Competition in 2003 lead him to be considered a star architect with greater media value and style recognition but with far less critical acclaim amongst his peers. In his later career perhaps defined by being in a New York office of over 60 people producing a large quantity of shapely towers and deconstructivist stylised museums has lead to an unfortunate repetition of his vocabulary of formal motifs' derived his earlier deeperer intellectual engagement with narratives of terror, void and loss. For example, although the plan and ideas between his Berlin Jewish museum and his Bern shopping centre are are very different, the visual language of intersecting pyramidal volumes and Kandisnky-esque surface slashing leads one to see them as being the roll out of an in-house style . Despite Libeskinds dance with the branding machinary of the market economy, (including wearing cowboy regalia at his appearance on the Opera Winfrey), his deep engagement with the questions of architectural representation and his capacity to articulate them persuasively to large popular audiences is inspiring.
He was born in lodz, poland in 1946 to a family who had survived the war, and had received a prestigous music scholarship which took him to New York where. As a teenager, he changed paths from music to Architecture, entering the Cooper Union (1965-1970) in a period of its intense creative energy between John Hedjuk, Raymod Abraham and Peter Eisenman. After this heady mix of mytho-poetics (Hedjuk), earthy austrian romanticism (Abraham), and acadmicist autonomy (Eisenman) he moved to England for a further dose of anthorpological architectural phenomenology (Joseph Rykwert and Dalibor Veseley). Whilst in Academic withdrawel between 1970 and 1989, Libeskind worked over the seemingly conflicting ideas of his education between architecture's eternal structuring background role within culture and its recent incarnation as a singular and violent act of language and articulation against this background. But then in 1989 he was thrown into architectural practice by the surprise win of the Berlin Jewish Museum competition, which, along with the Felix-Nausbaum museum finished the year prior, are perhaps his most successful projects in that they render an enclosed ambulatory of confusion and suffocation by spatial and temporal architectonic sequences tightly choreographed against powerful narratives of loss.