Daniel Libeskind is one of the most prominent modern architects in the world. His outstanding projects can be admired in such cities as Berlin, Manchester, San Francisco and, more recently, in Warsaw at 44 Złota Street. This is an address where EU’s tallest residential tower is being developed, in an expressive style that is so characteristic of Libeskind designs.
Libeskind was born in 1946 in Łódź to a family of Polish Jews, Holocaust survivors. In 1957, he emigrated to Tel-Aviv and two years later he moved to New York. Initially he studied music. However, he decided to abandon it to study architecture at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, from which he graduated in 1970. He also studied history and theory of architecture at the University of Essex. Even now he maintains close ties with the academic community as he gives lectures at many universities.
His work is often described is deconstructivism, a style in architecture that began in 1980s, and which, according to Mark Wigley, one of its proponents, is about challenging the established standards of harmony, unity, balance, and replacing them with a different look at structure. Deconstructivist buildings are characterised by bold, defragmented, multi-layer geometric form devoid of traditional ornaments. The role of such architecture is to communicate different symbols and meanings.
All these ideas are embodied in Libeskind’s most famous creation – the Jewish Museum in Berlin. Its form resembles a broken Star of David. The structure is traversed by three axes: one symbolizes continuity in Berlin history, the second – emigration from Germany, as it leads to the “Garden of Exile”, and the third – Holocaust, as it ends with the gloomy Holocaust Tower. By means of architecture, Libeskind tells a story of his nation and allows the visitors to feel the atmosphere of those tragic times. No one is left indifferent.
The Złota 44 residential tower is also intriguing in its own special way. It is not merely a modern form detached from the existing canons, but its structure gives the impression of constant movement – it is a symbol of Poland and its capital city. As Libeskind emphasised, the body of the building was inspired by Warsaw’s history and light, and by the potential inherent in the city. For this reason the building is likely to become a new landmark of the city – a true icon of the 21st century.