Daniel Libeskind

I went to hear Daniel Libeskind speak last night in a Q & A session as part of the expansion he has designed for the Denver Art Museum. Like the design or not, it’s going to be a powerful addition to the Denver skyline. (Libeskind, of course, is also the lead architect for the redesign of the World Trade Center in New York.)

I liked this man!

He was engaging, funny, and thoughtful. Some of my favorite quotes of the evening (I tried to be as true as possible to his exact words. Forgive me if I misquoted.):

  • When asked about starting a design: "There is no empty paper." Everything is part of something else. The paper was once a tree . . .
  • When asked about his goals, he said, it’s not about setting a goal, it’s "about following a path. But being true to that path."
  • "Architecture belongs to the public. . . . Everyone is an architect in some way." He then went on to talk about ants, bees, birds, and how they build.
  • "Good always wins out over bad."
  • Libeskind compared great architecture to listening to a piano recital: it’s an experience. It’s not just about the piano. (He’s been designing a new piano for a German company.)
  • When asked about his aversion to right angles: "I have nothing against right angles. But we live in a democracy. There are 359 other angles." (This alone was worth the night out!)

Mostly, I appreciated Libeskind’s openness to ideas–wherever they come from. He isn’t at all set in his ways or married to a certain style. He said he embraces ideas from taxi drivers, kindergartners, and people on elevators who share them. His musical tastes are eclectic (including his 16-year-old daughter’s Hip Hop). Johann Sebastian Bach, he said, was "the most influential architect" on his career.

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