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Thread: Libeskind

  1. #1

    Default Libeskind

    February 28, 2003
    A Man of Many Faces Comes Home to Cast a New Face for the City

    It was the magnanimous Daniel Libeskind — the adopted son of the great metropolis, the engaging former math and music wunderkind from the Bronx High School of Science — who showed up at center stage in the Winter Garden yesterday to accept the most extraordinary commission that any city has ever offered.

    His persona was a matter of interest, since there had been so many different Libeskind holograms projected before the people of New York during the long months of the ground-zero design competition. This is, of course, the laurel that Mr. Libeskind, the 56-year-old architect, so exuberantly accepted yesterday at a formal announcement before public officials, the media and a live cable-television audience.

    So many Libeskinds, so little time: the philosophical tummler, explaining the imperative of his design; the charming paterfamilias, wooing the relatives of the lost, and the subtle diplomat, accommodating every caveat of every unsympathetic judge. And at times some said there was the bare-knuckled bruiser, not only battling to preserve his vision of the city's future but also, on occasion, zapping his rivals with laser precision.

    His ascent to the podium was "a tremendously profound and moving moment," said Mr. Libeskind (pronounced lee-buh-skinned, without a syllabic emphasis), a child of Holocaust survivors who was born in Poland and now works in the German city whose rebirth he assisted, Berlin. "You are humbled by the responsibility. It will be a total commitment for the next 10 to 15 years."

    Then the audience was treated to Libeskind the charismatic salesman, presenting a video-screen tutorial on his grand design for ground zero. With conductor-like swoops of his arms, he gestured lovingly at his blueprint for a "site that goes back into the fabric of New York."

    "I've been called all sorts of names," he said, intending to set the record straight. "I was born in Poland but I am an American. I grew up in the Bronx."

    He arrived at the age of 13 on the S.S. Constitution, which afforded him the classic deckside view of the Statue of Liberty, and became an American citizen at 19. He laughed when asked whether he was part of the grand conspiracy of Bronx Science graduates to rule the world.

    "It's a wonderful school; you meet so many people who have gone there," he said noncommitally.

    After learning architecture at Cooper Union, he taught at Harvard, Yale and other top schools before landing his first and signature commission, the $40 million, zinc-clad Jewish Museum in Berlin.

    Since it opened at last in 2001, more than a million people have visited this German holocaust memorial. Its success not only helped revivify Berlin and catapulted Mr. Libeskind out of the architectural cheap seats, but it also gave the design competition an important reason to invite his participation. Win or lose, he had planned to move to New York and open up an office in Manhattan.

    So, now his partner and wife, Nina, 54, business manager of their Studio Daniel Libeskind — who has moved with him so many times, she has said, she earned a doctorate in packing — will be moving again, from Berlin. "Our daughter has been looking at schools," she said yesterday of their 13-year-old, Rachel. (The Libeskinds also have two sons, Lev, 25, and Noam, 23.)

    Months ago, Mr. Libeskind committed himself to New York to fight for his $320 million proposal, making himself accessible to just about everyone in a highly charged environment. The competition became so manic that his every gesture was pondered in the way that China-watchers once devined regime changes in Beijing.

    His basic black wardrobe was meticulously chronicled, and will continue to be (yesterday it was black-patterned Giorgio Armani, color-coordinated with his architectonic eyeglass frames). On the podium, all but hidden under his cuffless pants were the signature black elk skin cowboy boots from Carter's Cobbler Shoppe in Bozeman, Mont."You can't get them off him," his wife said.

    On Tuesday, the online magazine Slate branded Mr. Libeskind "an aggressive self-promoter," castigating him for "hawking himself and his scheme more flagrantly than any other World Trade Center finalist."

    Mr. Libeskind responded yesterday simply by saying that "this is not in my character."

    If it is true that his opponents in the competition were disrespectful to both Mr. Libeskind and his plan, he has also been accused of mixing it up, especially in regard to the other competition finalist, the team known as Think, and its twin soaring lattice-work towers. During an Internet forum Mr. Libeskind described the Think plan as "two skeletons in the sky."

    He responded: "That was never meant derogatorily, it was a simple description of the structure."

    Now there is, of course, the future of the design that Gov. George E. Pataki, speaking yesterday, called "a plan born out of tragedy but forged in democracy."

    The danger to the design's integrity "is death by gnat bites," said Robert Ivy, editor in chief of Architectural Record magazine.

    Yesterday in the Winter Garden, there was already disagreement among families of the victims. "We are concerned about this new, sanitized version," said Anthony Gardner, whose brother Harvey died in the north tower. He referred to the revised Libeskind design that placed a transit terminal under the floor of the plan's exposed slurry-wall memorial.

    But Mr. Libeskind's presentation was impressive to others. "I'm very optimistic about this plan," said Allison Vadhan, whose mother, Kristin Gould, perished on Flight 93, the hijacked jet that crashed in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11.

    Mr. Libeskind stands ready, though, to negotiate the heart-stopping minefield of competing downtown interests. "Any design has to evolve, but the fundamental ideas cannot change," he said, adding, "You must practice the arts of compromise and negotiation, without giving up the spirit of the work."

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  2. #2

    Default Libeskind

    Thanks Christian! *You are a research guru. *Between you and a couple of other members, I never have to worry that an issue that I am interested in will not be addressed. (And, it saves me from having to post). *

  3. #3

    Default Libeskind

    I do a good job of researching the NY Times site.

  4. #4


    McGraw-Hill Construction
    February 16, 2006

    Despite Freedom Tower Setback, Libeskind Building Skyscrapers Around the World

    By Sam Lubell

    Union City, NJ condominium

    Warsaw Tower, Poland

    Emerald Bay Development, Singapore

    Daniel Libeskind has never built a skyscraper. His most famous high rise is one that will never be built: the original concept for the Freedom Tower in Lower Manhattan. That crystalline, tapering structure has now become an obelisk on a concrete base designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.

    But don’t feel too badly for him. Thanks partly to fame developed from the World Trade Center competition, and partly to Studio Libeskind’s impressive list of contacts, developers all over the world have asked Libeskind to design high-rise condominiums. The firm has secured commissions for over 10 skyscraper projects in the last two years or so. These include towers in Singapore, Sacramento, Milan, Toronto, Warsaw, as well as Covington, Kentucky and Brescia, Italy, and three more undisclosed locations in the U.S., Korea, and Europe. The firm is so much in demand that its employees now number 55—up from 26 when it moved to New York in 2003.

    While very diverse in form, most of the high-rises display some degree of the original Freedom Tower’s sleek, tapering form and angular geometry. Many are formally and programmatically advanced, like the 31-story “Green Emerald Tower” in Milan, which sits on the city’s new 64-acre fashion and business district. Its form, cut from a sphere, curves as it rises like an elongated band shell to help limit harsh sunlight, and, of course, to make a dramatic statement next to towers by Arata Isozaki and Zaha Hadid. The Emerald Bay towers in Singapore (the tallest is 43 stories), employ similar curves, in this case to maximize views of the nearby waterfront, and utilize “gardens in the sky,” vegetation-filled bridges connecting buildings at upper floors. An angular tower in Warsaw, Libeskind’s hometown, appears almost as if it is two towers intersecting at sharp angles. Other projects, like those in Sacramento and Covington, have been criticized for their fairly conventional shapes, tapering near the top like Libeskind’s vision at Ground Zero, and embellished largely by balconies that form exterior designs.

    Libeskind’s success in this field is not just a result of fame or ability: it’s also a product of developers’ increasing desire to use design architects to woo tenants and investors. He’s also willing to work on a building type that some in the top echelons of the field look down on as a sell-out. The architect notes that such projects are often vital to jumpstarting neighborhoods, and even cities’ fortunes, and they have a much greater impact than the smaller niche projects that many of his contemporaries explore. Associate Yama Karim admits that many of these projects stray from the exploding shards and folding planes that the firm is known for at lower elevations. But he doesn’t see any of them as compromises. “We don’t compromise. It’s about making things that work. We work hard to make the economic realities of these types of projects work, but we want to avoid building typical developer buildings.”

    As for whether he’s cut out do design high rises, Libeskind responds “Architecture is architecture. If you’ve mastered building on a smaller scale, then you can build something bigger,” says Libeskind,

    In addition to skyscrapers, Libeskind will have several handfuls of projects completed by 2008, including a German military museum in Dresden, which is ironic, he admits, since he also built the Jewish Museum in Berlin. Other works include The New Center for Arts and Culture in Boston, and The Denver Art Museum and accompanying condominium development in Denver, a retail complex and hotel in Las Vegas. And how does he feel about the situation at Ground Zero, the project that helped make him, but also came close to breaking him?

    “I’m the only one who’s not disillusioned,” he says. The process is inherently difficult, and I knew that. But the core of the project is still there.”

    © 2006 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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  6. #6


    That Singapore development sure is ugly. Really stupid.

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