Skip to main content
Home World U.S. Weather Business Sports Analysis Politics Law Tech Science Health Entertainment Offbeat Travel Education Specials Autos I-Reports
Technology News

Libeskind still the man with a master plan

Adjust font size:
Decrease fontDecrease font
Enlarge fontEnlarge font

(CNN) -- The events of September 11, 2001 marked a turning point in Daniel Libeskind's life.

As the World Trade Center towers were attacked by terrorists and reduced to rubble, the Polish-born architect was in Berlin, Germany, marking the opening of his first major building to the public.

In 2002, when the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation selected him to help judge the designs submitted to rebuild the site, he jumped at the chance.

However, a clash of dates forced him to drop out.

His disappointment gave way to excitement when he realized that meant he could join the competitors.

Of the seven architects short-listed for the competition, Libeskind was the only one to venture down into the pit among the foundations of the twin towers.

It was there, looking up at the city above him, that he had the inspiration for his master plan, which in February 2003 won the commission.

The private developer Larry Silverstein, who leased the original towers from the Port Authority, hired architect David Childs to introduce his own ideas to the plan.

The occasional public display of unity for the media could not hide the acrimonious battles taking place between the two parties.

After much debate, Libeskind and Childs agreed to collaborate on the design of the Freedom Tower, with Childs leading the project. In December 2003, the two architects unveiled a compromise Freedom Tower design.

Ground Zero will not be rebuilt as Libeskind would wish it to be. But although he concedes he didn't get his own way entirely, he remains upbeat about his role as master planner.

Growing up in Poland, Israel and New York, music and art battled for the attention of the young Libeskind.

Aged seven he started playing the piano accordion, becoming a virtuoso, and after moving to Israel at age 11, he shared the stage with fellow child prodigy, the violinist Itzhak Perlman, in Jerusalem.

When he was 13, the Libeskinds moved to New York, where he continued playing music professionally.

At 17 he became interested in studying mathematics but a conversation with his mother helped to determine his destiny in architecture.

It would be another 40 years before the world would see buildings designed by Libeskind.

The Felix Nussbaum Haus, an Extension to the Cultural History Museum, in the German city of Osnabruck opened in 1998, a year before the Jewish museum in Berlin.

Until then, Libeskind's distinguished career had focused on the academic side of architecture.

Denver, Colorado, is aiming to establish itself as a cultural oasis in the desert between Los Angeles and New York.

Plans to extend the city's prestigious Art Museum presented an opportunity to plant a creative landmark at the heart of that bold ambition.

Daniel Libeskind was among more than 40 architects considered for the job. Candidates were invited to submit their ideas to the Art Board.

Six years and $65 million later, the building was completed in October 2006 with the museum director hoping it will do for Denver what the Sydney Opera House did for the Australian city.

After the frosty collaboration over the World Trade Center site, Libeskind found a much warmer partnership with local architects in Denver.

It was his success in Berlin in the late 1990s that enabled him to set about putting further ambitions into practice, with subsequent buildings across Europe marking a very individual style.

That privacy has been severely tested by Libeskind's involvement in very public projects -- from New York to Denver, thrusting him into the world of the celebrity architect.

Studio Daniel Libeskind now has offices in New York and several European cities.

Libeskind has no desk and no computer, preferring to work with drawings and models while his young team handle the high tech side of the business.

He stalks the office reinvigorating his staff who are working on projects ranging from hotels and housing to museums and municipal buildings from Singapore to South Korea and from Milan to Montreal.

Studio Daniel Libeskind now has offices in New York and several European cities.




Quick Job Search
  More Options
International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise with Us About Us Contact Us
© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
SERVICES » E-mails RSSRSS Feed PodcastsRadio News Icon CNNtoGo CNN Pipeline
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more