Interviewed in New York, April 19th 2007
Daniel Libeskind is a Polish-born American architect who belongs to the group of architects like Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid that became established in the second half of the eighties. The group is connected by nonhierarchic, fragmented approach to form and space. He attracted greater attention with the project and realization of the extension to the Jewish Museum in Berlin. This unique building came after Libeskind’s many years of doing architecture on a conceptual level. The Jewish Museum in Berlin demonstrated a completely new notion of architecture, that explicitly dealt with phenomenological and perceptive effects of space. After this realization, Libeskind continued to develop his recognizable architectural language connected with the deconstructivist doctrine through a series of projects and realization. After winning the competition for urban development plan of Ground Zero in New York, called Memory Foundations, Libeskind became one of the most exposed architects. Libeskind puts great effort in maintaining the original idea of his concept. Libeskind’s contribution to the architectural discourse is evident in the opening a new freedom in the articulation of architecture, whose success depends on maintaining design concentration and implementing the concept into formal research.
ORIS: You were educated as a musician and a mathematician. How did you come to the idea to switch from music to architecture? Is there any influence of music and mathematics in your architectural practice?
Libeskind: Yes. Music and architecture are very much a part of my work, not only because I’m interested in those two fields, but because architecture, the way I see it, is very interconnected with music – with acoustics, with mathematics and proportions as perceived by both the ear and the eye. Obviously, these are historically connected disciplines. How I drifted from being a performer in music to architecture is hard to tell, but certainly architecture encompasses similar ideas for me. Even though I’m not performing anymore as a musician, I would say that my interest in music is visible in my architecture.