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Daniel Libeskind in Conversation with Paul Goldberger

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Architect Daniel Libeskind, known for his dynamic, fractured compositions, is also recognized for introducing a new critical discourse to architecture. In an enormous variety of projects around the world—major cultural institutions, convention centers, universities, hotels, commercial centers, and residential work—he has manifested his commitment to expanding the horizons of architecture and urbanism. Counterpoint: Daniel Libeskind is the first comprehensive portrait of the work of Studio Daniel Libeskind, which was established in Berlin in 1989 and moved to New York in 2003 after winning the World Trade Center design competition.

Drawn from a series of interviews with celebrated architecture critic Paul Goldberger, Counterpoint exemplifies Libeskind's multidisciplinary approach, which reflects a profound interest in philosophy, art, music, literature, theater, and film. Along with Memory Foundations, the master plan for the World Trade Center site, featured projects include the Jewish Museum Berlin, the Royal Ontario Museum, the extension to the Denver Art Museum, the MGM Mirage CityCenter in Las Vegas, a multi-building complex in Busan, South Korea, and projects in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Israel, Mexico, Japan, and China.


Daniel Libeskind in Conversation with Paul Goldberger

Daniel, your practice is now a huge operation with a main office in New York, and other offices in Zurich and Milan. It’s a big enterprise. A dozen years ago or so, there was only a handful of employees and a small amount of work, and the nature of that work was more academic and theoretical. How did the transition evolve from small and academic to large and, in many ways, more commercial?

I like to think it’s a natural evolution of a practice. I started with a single building: the Jewish Museum Berlin. I never built a building before. But even when I was doing what seemed to others to be abstract drawings, I never thought of them as theoretical but as somehow part of an investigation of architecture.

The curve has gone very much more dramatically upward.

I know that many architects would think that the object of their career is to build a museum. I have been fortunate to build a great number. But architecture has to engage in the whole spectrum of needs, such as housing, shopping, education, and office buildings. I certainly love the expanded opportunities. In fact, I try to blur the lines between these different typologies in order to see what is common between them as the art of architecture. I used to do one project at a time, but now I’m equally and intensely involved with many projects. I never enjoyed doing just a sketch of a concept and handing it over to others.

You had anticipated my next question, which is one of management and administration. How is it possible for one man to be completely involved in all of the work in an office as large and as diverse as this now is?

Well, first of all, I have Nina, who is a master at managing the complex operations of the studio. And of course, I am supported by extraordinarily bright and talented young architects from all over the world. In architecture, different projects are not done at the same time. If you have thirty projects, some are at the conceptual stage, some in development, some in working drawings, some in construction. So the demands are not beyond what I can do.

It’s sometimes hard to explain that even in this scope of practice, I’m still designing every window, checking every form, and coordinating every detail—making sure that each building is a hand-crafted work. And that’s what I love to do! If I wasn’t doing that, if I didn’t allow myself to do that, I wouldn’t enjoy it. The diversity of different projects, in fact, finds unexpected connections and leads to new discoveries. The complexity of practice often subverts the prejudice of theory. So the mix has enriched my world view and hasn’t reduced it.

Table of Contents

Counterpoint: Daniel Libeskind
in Conversation with Paul Goldberger

Jewish Museum Berlin
Berlin, Germany

Editoriale Bresciana Tower
Brescia, Italy

Westside Shopping and Leisure Center
Brunnen, Switzerland

Haeundae Udong Hyundai I’Park
Busan, South Korea

Danish Jewish Museum
Copenhagen, Denmark

The Ascent at Roebling’s Bridge
Covington, Kentucky

Extension to the Denver Art Museum, Frederic C. Hamilton Building
Denver, Colorado

Denver Art Museum Residences
Denver, Colorado

Military History Museum
Dresden, Germany

Grand Canal Square Theatre and Commercial Development
Dublin, Ireland

Hamburg, Germany

Creative Media Centre
Hong Kong

Incheon, South Korea

Jerusalem Oriya
Jerusalem, Israel

Keppel Bay, Singapore

MGM Mirage CityCenter
Las Vegas, Nevada

London Metropolitan University Graduate Centre
London, England

Extension to the Victoria and Albert Museum
London, England

Imperial War Museum North
Manchester, England

Fiera Milano
Milan, Italy

New Milford, Connecticut

Memory Foundations
New York, New York

New York Tower
New York, New York

Felix Nussbaum Haus
Osnabrück, Germany

Memoria e Luce
Padua, Italy

Tour Signal, La Défense
Paris, France

Studio Weil
Port d’Andratx, Spain


The Wohl Centre
Ramat Gan, Israel

The Contemporary Jewish Museum
San Francisco, California

Seoul, South Korea

Gazprom Headquarters
St. Petersburg, Russia

Royal Ontario Museum
Toronto, Canada

The L Tower and Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
Toronto, Canada

Hermitage-Guggenheim Vilnius Museim
Vilnius, Lithuania

Zlota 44
Warsaw, Poland



"[Libeskind's] formally ambitious work has made him a favorite of clients looking for recognizable design. From critics, it has drawn a mix of admiration and vitriol that has placed him at the center of debates about the values and aesthetics of architecture in the first decade of the 21st century."
—William Hanley, Architectural Record

  • Counterpoint by Daniel Libeskind, Paul Goldberger
  • November 18, 2008
  • Architecture - Individual Architect
  • The Monacelli Press
  • $60.00
  • 9781580932066

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