Daniel Libeskind, (born May 12, 1946 in Łódź, Poland) is an architect, artist, and set designer of Polish-Jewish descent. Libeskind founded Studio Daniel Libeskind in 1989 with his wife, Nina, and is its principal design architect. His buildings include the Jewish Museum in Berlin, Germany, the extension to the Denver Art Museum in the United States, the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin, the Imperial War Museum North in Greater Manchester, England, the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada, the Felix Nussbaum Haus in Osnabrück, Germany, the Danish Jewish Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Wohl Centre at the Bar-Ilan University in Ramat-Gan, Israel. His portfolio also includes several residential projects. Libeskind’s work has been exhibited in major museums and galleries around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Bauhaus Archives, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Centre Pompidou. On February 27, 2003, Libeskind won the competition to be the master plan architect for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.
Though he had been an architectural theorist and professor for many years, Libeskind completed his first building at the age of 52, with the opening of the Felix Nussbaum Haus in 1998. Prior to this, critics had dismissed his designs as “unbuildable or unduly assertive.” The first design competition that Libeskind won was in 1987 for housing in West Berlin, but soon thereafter the Berlin Wall fell and the project was canceled. Libeskind won the first four projects he entered into competition for.
The Jewish Museum Berlin, completed in 1999, was Libeskind’s first major international success and was one of the first buildings designed after reunification. Libeskind has also designed cultural and commercial institutions, museums, concert halls, convention centers, universities, residences, hotels, and shopping centers. Critics often describe Libeskind’s work as deconstructivist.
Libeskind is perhaps most famous for being selected by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to oversee the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 attacks. He titled his concept for the site Memory Foundations.
Studio Daniel Libeskind, headquartered two blocks south of the World Trade Center site in New York, is currently working on over 40 projects across the world. The studio’s most recent completed projects include the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, California, The Ascent at Roebling’s Bridge in Covington, Kentucky, and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Ontario.
In addition to his architectural projects, Libeskind also designs opera sets for productions such as the Norwegian National Theatre’s The Architect in 1998 and Saarländisches Staatstheater’s Tristan und Isolde in 2001. He also designed the sets and costumes for Intolleranza by Luigi Nono and for a production of Messiaen’s Saint Francis of Assisi by Deutsche Oper Berlin. He has also written free verse prose, included in his book Fishing from the Pavement.