Architect, Daniel Libeskind was 42 years old before getting his first architectural commission, and 52 when he completed his first building, the Felix Nussbaum Haus in Osnabruck in 1998. He has since become one of the master builders of our age, an architectural alchemist who fuses simple, commemorative concepts with soaringly original abstract ideas – such as the interlocking prisms used to extend the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.
Renowned for his ability to evoke cultural memory in buildings – the Jewish Museum in Berlin, the master plan for Ground Zero in New York – he takes his inspiration from Gothic cathedrals, Baroque buildings, Piranesi, Stonehenge… and he believes in the past as a key to the meanings of the present. ‘You can’t build anything meaningful if you don’t understand the context of a place’ – even if that context is often hidden or obliterated.
His most acclaimed public buildings achieve presence not by complementing what they contain, but by engaging our attention on behalf of what is inside. As his peer Frank Gehry has said: ‘Libeskind expresses an emotion with a building, and that is the most difficult thing to do.’ More importantly, he communicates it. When you create a building you are telling a story, and Daniel Libeskind is one of the great storytellers of our age. Come and listen on May 22nd.