Ep. 23: Daniel Libeskind

World-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind inspires us with his eternally optimistic world-view and powerfully uplifting story of being born into persecution, immigrating to “the promised land” of the U.S. and participating in the space race. As the architect responsible for the master plan of the World Trade Center site, he composes memory in order to heal the future. Oh and he’s got mad accordion skills.

Architecture is a language. It’s a language of words, it’s a language of light, it’s a language of, of temperature, it’s a language of acoustics, language of proportions, language of materials... and you can use that language to tell a story.
Denver Art Museum Photo  ©  Bitter Bredt

Denver Art Museum Photo © Bitter Bredt

Our talk with Daniel Libeskind was not only informative, but inspirational and moving. We wanted to keep the conversation going, so we asked him to share some more for our show notes:

Daniel in Poland, 1954

Daniel in Poland, 1954

What is your earliest memory?

Walking on the street of Lodz (Poland) bare foot in the snow.

What’s been your favorite project and why?

My work because…There is no why!

Jewish Museum in Berlin (aerial view). Photo  ©  Guenter Schneider

Jewish Museum in Berlin (aerial view). Photo © Guenter Schneider

What’s the best advice that you’ve ever gotten?

From my mother: “Don’t be impressed by authority”

How do you record your ideas?


World Trade Center Master plan drawing

World Trade Center Master plan drawing

Royal Ontario Musem

Royal Ontario Musem

What book is on your nightstand? 

Alejandro Zambra “Multiple Choice”

Why is authenticity in design important?

Because the true is true and lies are lies.

Favorite restaurant in your city?

Faun in Prospect Heights

Daniel with his accordion, 1955

Daniel with his accordion, 1955

Favorite song to play on the accordion?

Toccata in D Minor

What might we find on your desk right now?

 A mess.

Vanke Pavilion, Photo  ©  Hufton+Crow

Vanke Pavilion, Photo © Hufton+Crow

Who do you look up to and why?

The future because that is where it is happening.

What are the most recent songs you listened to?

Yasmin Levy, Shmuot
Skip James, Devil got my woman
Bob Dylan, Hurricane
Amalia Rodrigues, Barco Negro

Kö-Bogen,  Photo   ©  Kirscher Fotografie

Kö-Bogen, Photo © Kirscher Fotografie

Follow Daniel Libeskind's work at Libeskind.com as well as Instagram and Twitter

Thank you to our sponsor Parachute Home.
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Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.