Daniel Libeskind. 17 words of architectural inspiration

Daniel Libeskind is one of the most famous architects of our time. His style, which is attributed to deconstructivism, is characterized by asymmetry, complex interweaving of axes, angular shapes, a special attitude to space.

"I am attracted to the creation of a space that has not yet been created, has not been brought to life; space that exists only in our imagination, - said the architect. — The basis of architecture is not a plot of land, steel or concrete. It is based on the desire to create a miracle. […] Architecture is a story. This is a story told through stone. This is a story of overcoming and human struggle to transform the impossible into the possible."

Daniel Libeskind celebrates his birthday on May 12. In honor of this day, PRAGMATIKA.MEDIA decided to mention 17 components that, according to the architect, are necessary to breathe life into new buildings and cities.


Optimism vs. pessimism (Optimism vs. Pessimism)

"I consider optimism to be the driving force of architecture. An architect is the only profession in which you simply have to believe in the future. A pessimist can be a general, a politician or an economist. A musician can write in a minor key, and an artist can paint in black tones. But architecture is an impulse, it is a belief in a better future. It is this faith that drives society. Today we are surrounded by the propaganda of pessimism. But it is during such times that architecture can become a driver of great ideas. Think of big cities. Look at the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center. They were built in difficult economic and political times, but the energy and power embedded in their architecture defined the social and political atmosphere of the space they occupied."

Jewish Museum, Berlin. Project: Daniel Libeskind

Expression vs. neutrality (Expressive vs. Neutral)

"I am a supporter of expression. Never liked neutrality - not in life, not anywhere. As in espresso coffee, where you take the very essence of coffee, expression is the essence of architecture. Many architectural structures lack expression, because we often think that architecture is indifferent and mute, that it is not capable of expressing thoughts, and therefore has no value. However, it is expression - the expression of our city, our house - that is what fills architecture with meaning and gives it the ability to speak. Truly expressive buildings not only reflect human knowledge, they challenge us. And it is an integral part of our life. After all, the point is not to live life without thinking about anything, the point is to overcome the chasm that separates us from the past and the future, and to be where we have not been yet."

Northern Imperial War Museum, Manchester. Project: Daniel Libeskind

Radicality vs. conservatism (Radical vs. Conservative)

"Architecture should be radical, not conservative. What does "radical" mean? It means one that has roots, roots that lie deep in tradition. I believe that architecture should reflect the essence of the established tradition, and not be a dead form, alcoholized in time. It must be the living thread between the cosmic moment of which we are a part and the continuous history. We don't know how this story will end, but our actions certainly affect its development. Therefore, I believe that architecture should be radical. The architecture of the Soviet period is an example of conservatism, like old Las Vegas. This is an example of suppressing emotions, this is an example of following traditions that hinder the flight of thought, which can be resisted only through radical changes."

London Metropolitan University, London. Project: Daniel Libeskind

Emotionality vs. indifference (Emotional vs. Cool)

"Architecture is a struggle with our own emotions, so it cannot be indifferent, although recently this kind of architecture is in great esteem. I have always disagreed with that. Emotions are needed. Life without emotions is not life. Even our mind is emotional, because no conclusion exists outside the sphere of ethics, outside the philosophical mystery of existence. Therefore, it is necessary to introduce sensuality into the atmosphere of the city and urban life. Our whole existence is a struggle of emotions, they make our world so amazing. Our cities themselves generate this confrontation between feelings and indifference. It is what drives progress, and the progress not only of architectural forms, but also the internal progress of both those who built them and those who live in them."

Military History Museum, Dresden. Project: Daniel Libeskind

Incomprehensibility vs. triviality (Inexplicable vs. Understood)

"Too often we want everything to be simple and clear for us. Of course, architecture is not a language of words. But this is language. A language that cannot be represented by letters and words. Unfortunately, many of the buildings that surround us are so banal that the story they can tell is quite short: "We have nothing to tell you." I think it is very important to discover architectural forms that may not be able to be described in words, but speak to us through concepts such as proportion, material and light. These concepts are connected and connected as a complex vector matrix, which does not lie on the surface, but is embedded in our existence, in the history of the creation of our cities, in the history of mankind. Therefore, I consider the idea that an architectural structure should be simple to be wrong. It was she who led to the fact that architecture lost its individuality.

Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. Project: Daniel Libeskind

Manual work vs. computer (Hand vs. Computer)

"Of course, what would we do without computers? All our activities depend on the computer. But the computer should be only a tool controlled by a person. I believe that the hand, with all its primitiveness and imperfection, is moved by forces whose nature is not fully understood. And although there is nothing mystical about them, we understand that the hand is moved by forces that are beyond our control. When I work by hand, my sketches, although similar to the same drawings made on a computer, are born from an invisible, incomprehensible, immaterial source. So I appeal to all of you - we should all strive for the computer to respond to the movements of our hands, rather than the hand following the computer. This is partly the complexity of architecture."

Complex Reflections at Keppel Bay, Singapore. Project: Daniel Libeskind

Complexity vs. simplicity (Complex vs. Simple)

"Recently, simplicity has been highly respected. I do not agree with this at all. […] Neurosurgery, atomic theory, genetics, economics are all extremely complex fields. And I see no reason why we need to pretend and try to create an outward simplicity that is only an illusion. Architecture is a very complex field. Space itself is a very complex concept. He is able to create new forms from himself. Therefore, we should not try to fit it into the simplified forms to which we are accustomed. Our lives are complicated. Our emotions are complex. Our intellectual pursuits are also complex. And I believe that architecture should reflect the complexity of the space we occupy, the complexity of our relationships."

Vanke pavilion at EXPO-2015, Milan. Project: Daniel Libeskind

Politics vs. evasiveness (Political vs. Evasive)

"Architecture should have a political aspect. Politics is not the enemy of architecture. Politics is the life of the city, it is all of us who live in this city. I always approach the creation of any structure as a political step. Building an ordinary residential building is also a political move, because other people will see it. We live in a world that connects us more and more. Therefore, architecture for the sake of architecture, abstract and neutral, which has been characteristic of us lately, does not appeal to me at all. Architecture must interact with events, no matter how complex they are, it must have its own position, perhaps unexpected for us, its assessment of what is happening. It should make us think, not only to give answers, but also, like our very life, to ask questions before us."

Felix Nussbaum Museum, Osnabrück. Project: Daniel Libeskind

Authenticity vs. simulation (Real vs. Stimulated)

"It is very important that it [architecture] be real. We have learned to imitate almost everything, but we have never been able to reproduce the human heart or the human soul. Architecture is very closely intertwined with our lives - we are born somewhere and die somewhere. Therefore, its true essence must come from within, and not be drawn from our knowledge, theories and books. Surrounding objects are material. We can touch a door, a window, a threshold or a bed. It all seems so prosaic. And yet I try to recreate our rich and mysterious inner world in each building. To create an office building in the material world, the viability of which is determined by the inner world."

Shopping center CRYSTALS AT CITYCENTER, Las Vegas. Project: Daniel Libeskind

Unusual vs. habit (Unexpected vs. Habitual)

What is a habit? These are only shackles in which we chain ourselves. Therefore, the unusual always remains unusual. Take, for example, any cathedral — it always remains unusual. Or Frank Gehry's buildings - they will continue to amaze us in the future. It is this kind of architecture, and not that which instills in us a false sense of stability, an architecture full of tension, which goes beyond knowledge and touches our souls, it is this kind of architecture that can destroy these bonds that it has helped to instill in us. When we see houses of the same type, we get used to this standard set of angles, light and building materials. And it begins to seem to us that our world is like these buildings, limited technically and devoid of imagination."

Congress Center in Mons. Project: Daniel Libeskind

Untamed vs. refinement (Raw vs. Refined)

"The architecture is unusual and untamed. What distinguishes it from sophisticated architecture? I would say that it is a manifestation of passions. This is an architecture that is not covered with luxury and expensive decorations, an architecture that lacks the sophistication characteristic of high culture. Maybe this kind of architecture, imperfect but viable, not dressed up and not fancy, will become the norm in the future, because it is this kind of architecture that reflects the heat of our desires, despite being made of cold stone."

Life Electric sculpture, Como. Design: Daniel Libeskind

Sharpness vs. roundness (Pointed vs. Blunt)

“A space that does not follow us like a trained dog, but moves forward, showing new possibilities, new experiences that have never been part of architecture. Such a combination is extremely interesting for me, because it is a flash of new energy. I like sharp, not rounded shapes - shapes that have real life at the center, shapes that can transform even the smallest space.

Architecture, of course, is not such a voluminous field as science, but, having a point of support, it uses our entire understanding of the world in an Archimedean way. Sometimes a single building can influence both our understanding of the past and our view of the future, and once again demonstrate that our world exists between stability and impermanence. Of course, buildings have shapes that are difficult to change. But I believe that in the form of every social space, every public place, there should be a desire to convey something more, and not just follow dry instructions; they must have direction — forward, backward, sideways or around."

The Wings, Milan. Design: Studio Libeskind

Unforgettability vs. Memorable vs. Forgettable

"I am interested in creating architectural structures that remain in memory. What are we worth without our memory? Deprived of memory, we would not know where we are going and why. So I've never been attracted to repeating the same techniques, although of course critics appreciate it. They prefer endless repetition of the same thing. I'd rather do something completely new, even with flaws, than pointlessly repeat the same thing. So, memory is embedded in our cities, in our world. Without memory, there would be no history, we would not know our roots. Memory is at the basis not only of our world, but also at the basis of the understanding of the world of those who will remember us."

Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco. Project: Daniel Libeskind

Communication vs. muteness (Communicative vs. Mute)

"Thus, architecture is not mute. It is a means of communication. This is a story about the depths of our passions. This is an unbiased assessment of centuries long gone. Silent architecture has never attracted me. Silence is a cemetery, but it is by no means a city. Cities should be filled with living vibrations, sound and music. To convey all this, to create living, multifaceted spaces and to transform our daily activities into something completely new - that is the mission of architecture. Creating a shopping center or swimming pool that would be interesting in itself. This is what I dream about."

Residence 18.36.54, Connecticut. Project: Daniel Libeskind

Risk vs. caution (Risky vs. Safe)

"Architecture must contain a share of risk. Of course, you can pay for it, but that doesn't mean it's not worth it. Caution will not bring us closer to the goal we want to achieve. Risk is the foundation of our world. A life without risk is not worth living. Therefore, there must be an element of risk in every building. To risk creating a structure with so many cantilevered wings seemed impossible. Take the risk to create dizzying, cutting-edge cities. Taking a risk that, despite mistakes, pushes architecture to create new and much better structures than empty standard "boxes".

Denver Art Museum Extension. Project: Daniel Libeskind

Space vs. fashion (Space vs. Fashion)

"Well, of course, the most important thing in architecture is space. Not fashion or decoration, but an opportunity to create something simple but unique. Only architecture can do that. We need space to breathe and dream. I'm talking about spaces for all, not lavish structures for the select few. I'm talking about spaces for which the main thing is not stylishness or the embodiment of newfangled theories. It is about a playground for trees, about creating corners that bring the natural world into the life of the city. Such spaces transform the inaccessible into the accessible. This is what I see as the nature of architecture."

Installation Outside Line, Uozu. Design: Daniel Libeskind

Democracy vs. authoritarianism (Democratic vs. Authoritarian)

"I believe in democracy. I don't like the opulent buildings built by totalitarian regimes where people can't openly express their opinions and vote. We often admire such buildings. We think they're great. But when I think that they are built by a society in which people are deprived of freedom, I cannot admire them. Therefore, no matter how difficult democracy is, I believe in it."