Rencontre avec : Daniel Libeskind

The story of this interview begins with a missed appointment in New York between the American-Polish architect and the editorial staff of Muuuz. Fortunately, technology has made it possible to thwart destiny and conduct an 2.0 interview. A meeting with an architect whose main focus is on memorial projects such as the Jewish Museum in Berlin (Germany) or the master plan at Ground Zero in New York (USA), which contrast with a personality brimming with optimism, Poetry and emotion.

Muuuz: What do you think is the main role of an architect?
Daniel Libeskind: For me, he must build a poetic and practical world, be both passionate and thoughtful, and possess the ability to create something I would call "a physical art for the public."

What is the starting point for all projects designed by Studio Libeskind?
An inspiration.

Tell us about your latest achievements?
At the end of March, I delivered three buildings, including the Ogden Center for Fundamental Physics for the University of Durham in the United Kingdom, which trains the best astrophysicists in the world; A large university complex in Lüneburg, near Hamburg, which has the appearance of a large agora and a place of research but which also allows students to meet researchers. In September we will deliver the Zhang ZhiDong museum in China, whose name pays tribute to a politician who can be considered the founder of industrialization in China in the 1910 years. There is also the Kurdistan Museum and the Canadian Holocaust Memorial in Ottawa. I'm lucky to have so many projects!

On this subject, you have realized many memorials. Can you explain this specificity of your work?
I did not do that but it's important not to forget totalitarianism, to build to remember. Memorials are not designed for themselves, but above all to remember people, to learn from their mistakes. It is mainly about education for future generations.


What project would you dream of drawing?
I'm not the type to dream, it's not me. When I am commissioned to do a project, I do it; When I participate in a contest, I do. But I never dreamed of unrealizable projects: I answer a client, a place, a political situation, a program.

So, is there a contest that you are really disappointed to have lost?
I never regret it. If a project is good, it is never lost, even if one does not win the competition for which one imagined it.

You often talk about the importance of emotion, perception and love in architecture. What was your greatest architectural emotion?
There are many. For example, when I saw the Mandelson aspen tower, it changed my life!

Do you have a Madeleine de Proust architectural?
I live in New York. As soon as I use the metro, it reminds me of my visits to the salt mines of Wieliczka in Poland, with its black lakes and underground churches dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. The metro is Madeleine which brings me back as a child.

In your interviews, you talk about literature, music and poetry. If you were a book, which one would you be? A song ? A poem ?
If I were a book, I would be The Street of the Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz. It is a fantastic work on the imaginary. A song: I would probably be The time of freedom, by Bob Dylan. And a poem: a very small three-line poem by Emily Dickinson, which simply says "The Pilgrims of the Mind / The Pilgrims of the Mind".

You travel a lot, but where do you really feel at home?
I feel everywhere at home, as soon as there are interesting people, love, solidarity. And I experienced it all over the world.

"For me, home is not about a place. " Daniel Linbeskind, Architect

To learn more, visit The site of Studio Libeskind

Photos / Illustrations:
1) Daniel Libeskind © StefanRuiz
2) Master plan, Ground Zero, New York © Joe Woolhead
3-4) Jewish Museum in Berlin, © Guenter Scheinder and © Libeskind
5) Ground Zero, New York, USA
6-7) The Ogden Center, Durham University © Hufton + Crow
8) University Complex in Lüneburg, Germany
9-10) Kurdistan Museum