Bold, innovative designs often challenge traditional architectural conventions. Daniel Libeskind, known for his distinctive, avant-garde projects, is an architect, artist, and friend whose provocative work I have admired for many years.
Daniel was born in Poland in 1946 to parents who were Holocaust survivors. The family moved to Israel in 1957 and then to New York in 1959 on an immigrant boat. His father worked at a print shop in Lower Manhattan, from where Daniel watched the construction of the World Trade Center in the late 1960s.
In 1965, he started school at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, and graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1970. In 1972, he followed this with a postgraduate degree in history and theory of architecture from the School of Comparative Studies at the University of Essex.
One of his most celebrated projects is the Jewish Museum Berlin, which won a design competition in 1989 and opened to the public in 2001. He called his acclaimed zigzag design, which left visitors with a feeling of insecurity or disorientation, “Between the Lines.”
The Imperial War Museum North in Manchester, England, was designed to look like a bombed building, with shards of metal and glass protruding from the exterior.
In 2001, Daniel became the first architect to win the Hiroshima Art Prize, awarded to an artist whose work promotes international understanding and peace. In 2003, he designed the master plan for One World Trade Center, the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site after the September 11 attacks.
The PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Tower, completed in 2020, is part of the CityLife district of Milan. It was created in line with state-of-the-art building and environmental sustainability criteria, and it’s one of the most recognizable buildings of the new Milan skyline.
What continues to inspire me about Daniel’s work is his renowned ability to evoke cultural memory in his designs and his belief that buildings should tell stories. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.