The Jewish Museum Berlin, which opened to the public in 2001, exhibits the social, political and cultural history of the Jews in Germany from the fourth century to the present, explicitly presenting and integrating, for the first time in postwar Germany, the repercussions of the Holocaust. The new building is housed next to the site of the original Prussian Court of Justice building which was completed in 1735 now serves as the entrance to the new building.
Daniel Libeskind’s design, which was created a year before the Berlin Wall came down, was based on three insights: it is impossible to understand the history of Berlin without understanding the enormous contributions made by its Jewish citizens; the meaning of the Holocaust must be integrated into the consciousness and memory of the city of Berlin; and, finally, for its future, the City of Berlin and the country of Germany must acknowledge the erasure of Jewish life in its history.
The visitor enters the Baroque Kollegienhaus and then descends by stairway through the dramatic Entry Void, into the underground. The existing building is tied to the new extension, through the underground, thus preserving the contradictory autonomy of both the old and new structures on the surface. The descent leads to three underground axial routes, each of which tells a different story. The first leads to a dead end – the Holocaust Tower. The second leads out of the building and into the Garden of Exile and Emigration, remembering those who were forced to leave Berlin The third and longest, traces a path leading to the Stair of Continuity, then up to the exhibition spaces of the museum, emphasizing the continuum of history.
A Void cuts through the zigzagging plan of the new building and creates a space that embodies absence. It is a straight line whose impenetrability becomes the central focus around which exhibitions are organized. In order to move from one side of the museum to the other, visitors must cross one of the 60 bridges that open onto this void.
2010 – Buber-Rosenzweig Medal from DKR (German Coordinating Council of Societies for Christian-Jewish Cooperation)
1999 – The German Architecture Prize
1998 – The Best of 1998 – Art forum International
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The Sapphire (Chau 43) residential development brought Daniel Libeskind back to Berlin for his first residential project in the city. The project, located on a busy corner in the Mitte neighborhood in central Berlin, transformed a derelict, diminutive and seemingly unusable site into landmark residences.
The design carves out 73 one- to four-bedroom apartments on a plot measuring less than half an acre. Studio Libeskind incorporated large angular windows and canted walls that bring in natural light and invoke a feeling of spaciousness. Atop the roof and visible above the façade is the upward sweep of a double-height glass ceiling: inside, a penthouse with sloping glass walls and access to a roof patio overlooks the City of Berlin.
The three-dimensional, geometric-patterned stoneware tile adorning the façade is another design signature. Designed by Daniel Libeskind for Casalgrande Padana, the panels are technologically advanced to self-clean and aid in air purification.
With retail shops on the ground floor, underground parking, and a common outdoor area, this high-spirited, contemporary complex stands on land where the Wulffersche iron factory once operated, before being expropriated from its Jewish owners during World War II.
Sapphire was completed in 2017.
“Celebrated for the dramatic, bold architectural angles … Libeskind executes these complex ideas on a smaller scale to equal effect for Chausseestrasse [Sapphire].”
– Interior Design Magazine, 2013
2018 – Architizer Award, Special Mention
2018 – Ceramics of Italy Tile, Commercial Award
Daniel Libeskind’s design for the 1991 competition to redesign Potsdamer Platz sought to parse the temporal and spiritual discontinuities in the area.
Potsdamer Platz was once at the beating heart of the Prussian capitol, before becoming an urban vitrine for Nazism, adorned in neon signs to Reich media. The square was razed by Allied air attacks during the war and was then cut in half by the Berlin Wall in 1961, leaving almost 60 hectares barren. In 1990, the city of Berlin announced a competition to redesign the site, attracting an international field of architects.
For the competition, Libeskind chose not to see the desolate space as a tabula rasa, but as a dialectic space for confronting the past and re-imaging the future. Prevailing attitudes at the time sought to rebuild the area along more traditional lines, yet in the spirit of optimism, Libeskind sued for a more critical exploration of the relationships that would underpin the 21st-century metropolis.
Entitled “Out of Line,” Libeskind’s design envisioned a matrix of intersecting lines known as the “ten thunderbolts of absolute absence.” The matrix is a puzzle of memory fragments, nine representing past viewpoints and the tenth a gateway to the future.
The lines carry both theoretical significance and have a functional use as a series of mixed-use structures. The design was a wholly three dimensional project, with structures above, on and below the street. Residential, commercial, cultural, educational, and even light manufacturing spaces were provided for in the design.
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In 1993, the recently reunified city of Berlin launched a competition for a new masterplan for Alexanderplatz. Located in the Mitte neighborhood, Alexanderplatz is at the geographic and spiritual heart of Berlin—the knot that ties the city’s diverse neighborhoods together.
Libeskind’s scheme, dubbed “Traces of the Unbroken,” was predicated upon recognizing the square’s place as a gateway between East and West. The design integrated planning and architectural concepts that resisted the erasure of history and reflected a commitment to the memory of the city’s history and cultural development from the Prussian capital to a global nexus of culture. As such, the design rejected the notion of demolishing the ill-conceived structures of the GDR and sought to integrate them into the tableau of the reunified city in an ecologically responsive manner. The design wove Berlin’s urban tapestry back together, drawing on the logic of pedestrian flows to create a dynamic, human-scale space that harnessed the energy of the city. New public spaces were created, including multilayered pavilions that accentuated the rhythm of the streets while maximizing usable space.
The design facilitated a diverse program that generated an urban texture with variety and vitality. The human-scale buildings and large urban park rejected the notions of a cloistered square, creating a space without imposed order and an open framework oriented towards future growth. The space was a dynamic merging of public and private, playing host to residential, commercial, and public buildings. Mediating the space was a building known as the “Wedge;” a public building that would house municipal, European Union, and national government offices.
With Alexanderplatz, the traditional notion of the Masterplan, with its implied totalism and finality, is replaced by a dynamic, open and ever evolving matrix for the creation of a diverse and pluralistic architecture.
Traces of the Unbroken lost out to Hans Kollhoff’s winning design by one vote.More about this project
Almost 13 years after Daniel Libeskind’s extension to the Jewish Museum Berlin opened to great acclaim in 2001, the museum unveiled its third collaboration with the architect, the Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin.
The one-floor, 25,000-square-foot building is located on the historic site of the Blumengrossmarkt (flower market) across the street from the Jewish Museum Berlin. Entitled “In-Between Spaces,” the design links the building to the museum’s other structures and open spaces both thematically and structurally. Visitors enter through a downward thrusting cube that intersects with the main rectangular hall, suggestive of the original Kollegienhaus building and the Libeskind-designed extension. Moving into the structure, two more cubes are revealed, housing the library and the auditorium, forming a jagged triumvirate with the entrance cube. The name for the design is derived from the transitional area among the three cubes. It also alludes to the different perspectives the unique vantage point offers. Standing in that spot, looking into the hall and out on to museum’s other structures and spaces, visitors are ideally placed to reflect on the museum’s larger purpose and their own experience in the space.
The movement and interaction suggested by the cubes’ shape, placement and the seemingly rough-hewn timber (actually radiate pine timber) used to fabricate them suggests the sort of crates used to transport precious objects, including books. They also suggest Noah’s Ark, which preserved the most precious thing of all—living beings, in all their splendid variety—during the most important voyage in biblical history.
The Jewish Museum Berlin moved its archives to the Academy and offers public programs in the space. Within the building, there is the Diaspora Garden, a space filled with plants from around the world, representing the spread of the Diaspora across the globe. The garden features four floating plateaus that have a different theme: landscape, culture, soil, and Academy. The plateaus feature different plants and are used in conjunction with the educational programs. The building also includes museum offices and support spaces.
The project was completed in 2012.More about this project
EPFL ArtLab’s Thinking Machines. Ramon Llull and the ars combinatoria, is a bold exhibition that draws together scholarly, scientific and artistic modes of enquiry. Through it, we reread the late Middle Ages in the works of Ramon Llull, the outstanding Catalan philosopher and theologian, to explore the ramifications of his thinking in the realms of modern and contemporary art, and computation. The reverberations of Llullian thought on technology, art and culture find their present-day corollary in a pedagogical revolution which has ‘computational thinking’ at its core.
This four-month exhibition proposes fresh perspectives on contemporary technologies and their development through the ages under the influence of both art and science. The exhibition offers a space in which visitors can reflect on the significance of Llullian combinatorics for generative and algorithmic principles which are now developed in advanced technologies. Thinking Machines likewise raises ethical questions on the accumulation and transfer of knowledge through intelligent systems.
The exhibition is organized by the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, in collaboration with the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona – CCCB and EPFL | École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne. Curated by Amador Vega (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona), Peter Weibel (ZKM | Karlsruhe), and Siegfried Zielinski (UdK, Berlin University of the Arts), Thinking Machines is realized at EPFL under the leadership of ArtLab director: Sarah Kenderdine.
Specifically designed to be encountered through either of its two opposite entrances in the Pavilion B of EPFL’s ArtLab, the exhibition offers visitors a non-linear curatorial assemblage that can be approached bidirectionally. The four primary themes of this exhibition are: Inside Thinking Machines, Variantology, Poetics of Knowledge, and Towards Computational Thinking.
Contemporary artists and thinkers are in interactive dialogue with the great work of Ramon Llull. He was a nomad moving extensively across the world around the Mediterranean Sea, in the same way as his ideas were to travel, be rediscovered and echoed across time.
École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Thinking Machines. Ramon Llull and the ars combinatoria, EPFL ArtLab Lausanne, 03.11.2018 – 10.03.2019.
Studio Libeskind’s Sapphire Housing in Berlin, Germany received an award in 2018 for the Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition – 25 Year Anniversary.
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Daniel Libeskind presents his book Breaking Ground – Adventures in Life and Architecture.More about this article
Daniel Libeskind says he chooses drawing as a way to put his ideas and thoughts into practice and that architectural drawing is in itself a creative work. This book documents the process of some of his most prestigious projects including the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the World Trade Center redevelopment in New York City. Inspiration and Process in Architecture is a series of books exploring the lives and work of key figures in modern and contemporary architecture, and their use of drawing as part of the creative process.
From Rome’s Parthenon to Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia; from the ancient village of Petra to Beijing’s Forbidden City; from New York’s Empire State Building to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, this visually stunning collection of 100 milestones of architectural history explores how they changed the course of architecture forever.
Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum Berlin is featured as project #91.
Publisher: Prestel (Munich/London/New York)
Daniel Libeskind, the renowned architect, known for his work on the World Trade Center site and Berlin’s Jewish Museum, was inspired by an unconventional honeymoon.More about this article
The acclaimed architect on his love of Bruegel, Berlin opera and an inspirational Polish salt mine.More about this article
The architect behind such high-profile designs as Berlin’s Jewish Museum and New York’s Ground Zero site plan has a new book out, ‘Edge of Order,’ which tells stories about his buildings and the life experiences that inspired them.More about this article
From the Jewish Museum in Berlin to the Ground Zero reconstruction in New York, high-profile, emotionally charged projects have made Libeskind’s reputation. An academic until age 43, he now leads—with help from his wife, Nina—a practice of 50 employees working on commissions around the world.More about this article
World-renowned architect, Daniel Libeskind’s global portfolio ranges from New York’s World Trade Center redevelopment and Berlin’s Jewish Museum through to the Kurdish Museum in Iraq and social housing models for dense urban environments in China and elsewhere. In Ireland his Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin has injected new life into the Grand Canal Harbour development.More about this article
An international figure in architecture and urban design, Daniel Libeskind is renowned for his ability to evoke cultural memory in buildings. Informed by a deep commitment to music, philosophy, literature, and poetry, Mr. Libeskind aims to create architecture that is resonant, unique and sustainable.
Born in Lód’z, Poland, in 1946, Mr. Libeskind immigrated to the United States as a teenager and, with his family, settled in the Bronx. He received the American-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship and performed as a musical virtuoso, before eventually leaving music to study architecture. He received his professional degree in architecture from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1970 and a postgraduate degree in the history and theory of architecture from the School of Comparative Studies at Essex University in England in 1972.
In 1989, Mr. Libeskind won the international competition to build the Jewish Museum in Berlin. He moved his young family to Berlin and devoted more than a decade to the completion of this seminal design. A series of influential museum commissions followed, including the Felix Nussbaum Haus, Osnabrück; Imperial War Museum North, Manchester; Denver Art Museum; Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco; Danish Jewish Museum, Copenhagen; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; and the Military History Museum, Dresden.
In 2003, Studio Libeskind won another historic competition—to create a master plan for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. In addition to a towering spire of 1,776 feet, the Libeskind design study proposed a complex program encompassing a memorial, underground museum, the integration of the slurry wall, special transit hub and four office towers. This plan is being realized today.
Upon his move to New York, Studio Libeskind quickly became involved with designing and realizing a large number of commercial centers, such as Westside in Bern, the Crystals at City Center in Las Vegas, and Ko-Bogen in Düsseldorf, as well as residential towers in Busan, Singapore, Warsaw, Toronto, Manila and Sao Paulo.
As Principal Design Architect for Studio Libeskind, Mr. Libeskind speaks widely on the art of architecture in universities and professional summits. 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.
Mr. Libeskind lives in New York with his wife and business partner, Nina Libeskind. He is a licensed architect in the State of New York.
Since joining Studio Libeskind in 1999, Carla Swickerath has gained diverse experience in cultural, civic, retail, commercial, residential and planning projects around the world. She has lead many of the Studio’s successful project teams from concept design through to completion—including the Crystals retail complex at CityCenter in Las Vegas, the Hyundai Haeundae Udong I-Park residential development in Busan, Korea, and the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco.
Ms. Swickerath has also led the complex World Trade Center redevelopment process from the initial competition phase to the present. Today, her dual management and design skills come into play as she oversees all aspects of operations at Studio Libeskind. Ms. Swickerath leads many of the Studio’s projects, coordinating the design team and consultants, liaising with clients and client’s representatives and managing project budgets and schedules.
She earned a Masters in Architecture from the University of Michigan, following undergraduate studies in English and Art History at the University of Florida. She has taught at the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee in Berlin and University of Michigan. Carla speaks publicly on architecture, design and planning. Carla is a member of the Board of Trustees at the Van Alen Institute in New York.
With over two decades of experience in managing some of the Studio’s most complex large-scale projects around the globe, Stefan Blach has led design and consultant teams to reach these goals in a wide range of cultural, residential and commercial developments. This includes the development and completion of the acclaimed Jewish Museum Berlin; the urban rejuvenation development of the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and Grand Canal Commercial Development in Dublin; the LEED Platinum certified Kö-Bogen retail and office complex in Dusseldorf, Germany; and the recently opened and award-winning MO Modern Art Museum in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Stefan looks at each project and reviews the complexity and nuances of the program and site to find creative solutions by using simple and practical methods that deliver projects at the highest quality and on-budget. He is currently managing the new museum design of the Museo Regional de Tarapacá in Chile, a housing development in Frankfurt, the urban development for the Central Deck and Arena and adjacent mixed-use in Tampere, Finland, as well as several on-going commercial and cultural projects in Europe and Asia.
Before coming to Studio Libeskind, Stefan gained professional experience working both independently and with a number of leading architects, including Tim Heide (Berlin) and Salvador Pérez Arroyo (Madrid) for the Museo de la Ciencia en Cuenca. Stefan received a Diploma in Architecture from the Technische Universität, Berlin in 1991. He is fluent in German and English, and proficient in Spanish.
Before joining the staff of the Studio in 2003 in New York, Yama Karim had already collaborated with Daniel Libeskind for several years in the late 1990s in Berlin. He has brought extraordinary experience to the Studio, having served first as a senior designer at Polshek Partnership (now Ennead Architects) where he worked on the Brown Fine Arts Center at Smith College, Massachusetts and the Sarah Lawrence College Monica A. and Charles A. Heimbold Jr. Visual Arts Center, New York, among others. He also worked at Reiser + Umemoto (RUR) in New York, where he served on the team for the Yokohama Port Terminal in Yokohama, Japan.
He is currently managing the master plan and redevelopment of the former fairgrounds in Milan, Italy; the Downtown Tower in Vilnius, and several high-rise and cultural projects throughout the Middle East.
Mr. Karim has taught full-time at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and as a visiting professor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He graduated from Columbia University with a Masters in Architecture in 1995 and from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design in 1991. Yama speaks English and Farsi.
Arnault Biou serves as a lead designer on many international competitions as well as on large scale construction projects around the world. He has overseen design and construction of the courtyard extension for the Jewish Museum in Berlin, as well as for Reflections at Keppel Bay, a large residential complex in Singapore and the Corals condominium development adjacent to it. He is currently working on the L’Occitanie Tower in Toulouse, France.
Before joining the Studio in 2005, Mr. Biou worked as a senior architect with Steven Holl Architects where he was in charge of design and construction of the Whitney water plant and parc in New Haven. He also worked on the Iowa University School of Art, the Swiss Embassy in Washington DC, the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and the Turbulence House in New Mexico. He gained experience previously working for Gigon und Guyer Architekten (Zurich), BMB Architekten (Zurich) and Calatrava Valls SA (Zurich).
He received his Diploma of Architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich in 1995. He has been a guest critic at Pratt in Brooklyn and City College in Manhattan. Arnault speaks French, German, and English.