‘Breaking Ground’ saw internationally-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind discuss the inspiration behind some of the world’s most iconic buildings, including the reconstruction of the World Trade Center, the Jewish Museum in Berlin and Manchester’s Imperial War Museum.
The world-leading architect visited LJMU following an invitation from Reader in Architecture, Dr Robert MacDonald, to deliver a lecture and raise funds for Red Cross for Syrian Children and Talia Trust for Children.
An international figure in architecture and urban design, Daniel’s lecture centred on key pieces of architectural work which have been among the highlights of his 40-year career. Daniel is renowned for his ability to create buildings which evoke cultural memory while being simultaneously contemporaneous, and the examples he gave the 350-plus audience were a clear demonstration of his unique talents.
The Jewish Museum in Berlin, the Felix Nussbaum Haus museum in Osnabrüc, Manchester’s Imperial War Museum, the Ohio Statehouse Holocaust Memorial and, most recently, the World Trade Centre Masterplan are all designed by Daniel and they are not only united by this, but also by the fact that they share similar stories in terms of remembering those who have suffered through acts of war and/or terrorism. Daniel explained his thinking behind the designs of each of these buildings and commented that his architectural work is linked to memory, story-telling and people; and his passion, humanity and humility were evident throughout the lecture.
Commenting about Daniel’s visit, Dr Robert MacDonald said: “Daniel is a hugely motivational figure and, although students were overwhelmed to meet him, he remained humble, friendly and welcoming. To meet someone of this calibre and hear them speak in person about some of the world’s best known buildings was a real coup and I hope his talk will inspire the students throughout their architectural careers.”
Following the lecture, the City of Liverpool provided a Civic Reception for Daniel at Liverpool Town Hall, where he was welcomed by the Deputy Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor who expressed their delight at welcoming such a leader in their field.
Daniel in return spoke about his fondness for the city, commenting: “Liverpool is one of the greatest centres of civilisation because it was at the heart of the industrial revolution. It has everything to do with the development of industry. Karl Marx studied in particular cities like Liverpool and Manchester and the ethic of work and how people survived; so it’s the texture of Liverpool, its history, its working people that gives it great heritage, not just the obvious buildings. Liverpool has everything to do with the growth of consciousness of what cities really are and, in that sense, of course it is one of the most iconic cities in the world.”
Nina Libeskind added: “Daniel and I had a wonderful time in Liverpool and thoroughly enjoyed both the University lecture and the Town Hall meeting. Those persons who attended the lecture were so intensely engaged that it was really most rewarding - thank you for the opportunity.”
Born in Lód’z, Poland, in 1946, Daniel Libeskind immigrated to the United States as a teenager. He established his architectural studio in Berlin, Germany, in 1989 after winning the competition to build the Jewish Museum in Berlin. In February 2003, he was selected as the master planner for the World Trade Center redevelopment and the headquarters of Studio Libeskind moved from Berlin to New York City. The practice is involved in designing and realising a diverse array of international urban, cultural and commercial projects and the Studio has completed buildings that range from museums and concert halls to convention centres, university buildings, hotels, shopping centres and residential towers. As Principal Design Architect for Studio Libeskind, Daniel Libeskind speaks widely on the art of architecture. His architecture and ideas have been the subject of many articles and exhibitions, influencing the field of architecture and the development of cities and culture.
Professor Caroline Wilkinson, Director of LJMU’s School of Art and Design, commented: “We are delighted that Daniel, widely considered to be one of the world’s greatest architects, delivered a lecture at the School. Dr Robert MacDonald was instrumental in bringing Daniel to the University and this was a genuine once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students and members of the public to hear the architect of some of the world’s most well-known buildings speak directly about his designs.”
Daniel Libeskind’s lecture is now available to watch.