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Spotlight: Daniel Libeskind

Posted on April 25 2017

“The most important building material is light” – Daniel Libeskind

Born on 12 May 1946, Daniel Libeskind is a Polish-American architect, artist, professor, luxury lighting icon, and set designer of Polish Jewish descent. As a young child, Libeskind learned to play the accordion and quickly became a virtuoso, performing on Polish television in 1953.

In the summer of 1959, the Libeskinds moved to New York City on one of the last immigrant boats to the United States. The print shop where his father worked was on Stone Street in Lower Manhattan, and Libeskind watched the original World Trade Center being built in the 1960s.

In 1970, he received his professional architectural degree from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. From there, he received a postgraduate degree in History and Theory of Architecture at the School of Comparative Studies at the University of Essex in 1972. The same year, he was hired to work at Peter Eisenman's New York Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, but he quit almost immediately.

Libeskind founded Studio Daniel Libeskind in 1989 with his wife, Nina, and is its principal design architect. His buildings include the Jewish Museum in Berlin, the extension to the Denver Art Museum in the United States, the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin, the Imperial War Museum North in Greater Manchester, and the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, to name but a few.

His portfolio also includes several residential projects. Libeskind's work has been exhibited in major museums and galleries around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Bauhaus Archives, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Centre Pompidou. On February 27, 2003, Libeskind won the competition to be the master plan architect for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan, the very location he saw the original being built decades earlier.