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Prominent Poles

Daniel Libeskind, Polish-Jewish- American architect, set designer

Photo of Daniel Libeskind, architect

Born:  May 12, 1946 in Lodz, Poland

Early days. Libeskind was the second child of Dora and Nachman Libeskind, both Holocaust survivors. As a young child, Libeskind learned to play the accordion and quickly became a virtuoso, performing on Polish television in 1953. He won a prestigious America-Israel Cultural Foundation scholarship in 1959 and played alongside a young Itzhak Perlman. That summer, the Libeskinds moved to New York City on one of the last immigrant boats to the United States. In New York, Libeskind attended the Bronx High School of Science. He watched the original World Trade Center being built in the 1960s. Libeskind became a United States citizen in 1965. In 1970, he received his professional architectural degree from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and a postgraduate degree in History and Theory of Architecture at the School of Comparative Studies at Essex University in 1972.

Career. Daniel Libeskind met Nina Lewis, his future wife and business partner, at the Bundist-run Camp Hemshekh in upstate New York in 1966. They married a few years later and traveled across the United States visiting Frank Lloyd Wright buildings on a Cooper Union fellowship. They have three children. Libeskind founded with his wife Studio Daniel Libeskind in 1989 and is its principal design architect. Libeskind lived, among other places, in New York, Toronto, Michigan, Italy, Germany, and Los Angeles, and has taught at numerous universities across the world, including the University of Kentucky, Yale University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Since 2007, Libeskind was a visiting professor at the Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany. Though he had been an architectural theorist and professor for many years, Libeskind completed his first building with the opening of the Felix Nussbaum Haus in 1998. His other major buildings are listed below. 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-Archiv Museum, Berlin, Germany, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France. 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. 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 Saarlandisches 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 poetry, included in his book Fishing from the Pavement.

Major projects. 1989-1999 Jewish Museum Berlin - Berlin,Germany
1995-1998 Felix Nussbaum Haus - Osnabruck, Germany
1997-2001 Imperial War Museum North - Greater Manchester, England
1998-2008 Contemporary Jewish Museum - San Francisco, California, USA
2000-2003 Studio Weil - Majorca,Spain
2000-2006 Extension to the Denver Art Museum, Frederic C. Hamilton Building - Denver, Colorado, USA
2000-2006 Denver Art Museum Residences - Denver, Colorado, USA
2000-2008 Westside Shopping and Leisure Centre - Bern, Switzerland
2001-2003 Danish Jewish Museum - Copenhagen, Denmark
2001-2004 London Metropolitan University Graduate Centre - London, England
2001-2005 The Wohl Centre - Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel
2002-2007 Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, extension to Royal Ontario Museum and renovation of ten of its existing galleries - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2003-2005 Tangent, Facade for Hyundai Development Corporation Headquarters - Seoul, South Korea
2004-2005 Memoria e Luce, 9/11 Memorial - Padua, Italy
2004-2007 Glass Courtyard addition to the Jewish Museum Berlin - Berlin, Germany
2004-2008 The Ascent at Roebling's Bridge, residential condominium building - Covington, Kentucky, United States
2005-2009 MGM Mirage's CityCenter, retail and public space on the Las Vegas Strip - Las Vegas, Nevada
2004-2010 Grand Canal Square, Grand Canal Theatre and Commercial Development - Dublin, Republic of Ireland

Under Construction 2001-2009 Military History Museum, Dresden, Germany
2002-2010 Creative Media Centre, Hong-Kong,China
2005-2010 Zlota 44, apartment tower - Warsaw, Poland
2005-2011 L Tower and Sony Centre for the Performing Arts Redevelopment - Toronto, Canada
2006-2011 Reflections at Keppel Bay, high-rise and low-rise villa apartment blocks - Keppel Bay, Singapore

Awards and distinctions American Institute of Architects Medal for Highest Scholastic Achievement (1970); National Endowment for the Arts Design Arts Grant for Studies in Architecture (1983); Venice Biennale First Prize Stone Lion Award for Palmanova Project (1985); Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1996); Time Magazine Best of 1998 Design Awards for the Felix Nussbaum Haus (1998); Goethe Medal for cultural contribution by the Goethe Institute (2000); First architect to win the Hiroshima Art Prize, awarded to an artist whose work promotes international understanding and peace (2001); RIBA International Award for the Imperial War Museum North (2004); RIBA Award for the London Metropolitan University Graduate Centre (2004); Appointed as the first Cultural Ambassador for Architecture by the U.S. Department of State (2004); Honorary member of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, England (2004); Man of the Year Award from the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel (2004); RIBA International Award for Wohl Centre at Bar-Ilan University, Israel (2006); Gold medal for Architecture at the National Arts Club (2007); First recipient of honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Art (DFA) from University of Ulster in recognition of his outstanding services to global architecture and design (2009)

This article uses, among others, material from the Wikipedia article "Daniel Libeskind." Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply:

Other sources:
Official page
Collection of photos of Libeskind's buildings and projects. See in particular p.20 and 29 for his Zlota 44 project in Warsaw, Poland

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