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Daniel Libeskind papers, 1968-1992

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Libeskind (Daniel) Papers

Biographical/Historical Note

The architect Daniel Libeskind was born in Lodz, Poland in 1946 and emigrated with his family to Israel. He studied music at the Lodz Conservatory. In 1960, after winning the America - Israel Cultural Foundation Fellowship, he moved to New York to continue his studies in music. While in the United States, however, he changed direction and enrolled in architecture at Cooper Union, studying with John Hejduk and Peter Eisenman. In 1970 he was graduated summa cum laude with a B. Arch. degree. He subsequently earned his Master's degree in History and Theory of Architecture at the School of Comparative Studies at Essex University, England, in 1972 with his thesis Imagination and Space.

In the late 1980s Libeskind founded the studio Architecture Intermundium, Milan, Italy (Founder and Director, 1986-1989), in order to challenge the trend toward what he viewed as the corruption and commodification of architecture. Libeskind's projects reflect his readings in philosophy, his study of music, and, in his best known project, his connection to the Jewish diaspora and the Holocaust.

Libeskind's design for the Jewish Museum Extension to the Berlin Museum (Jüdisches Museum im Berlin Museum), triggered international controversy and earned Libeskind considerable acclaim from architects and architectural critics worldwide. After winning the competition in 1989, it took ten years to build the Jewish Museum Extension (which he titled Between the Lines). The project successfully endured opposition from Mayor Eberhard Diepgen and many of the citizens of Berlin, and weathered the fall of the Berlin Wall. Libeskind and his wife, Nina, launched a letter writing campaign that lobbied members of the Berlin Senate and the Mayor himself. The cornerstone for the Jewish Museum Extension finally was laid on 9 November 1992 and the building completed in January 1999.

Since the Jewish Museum Extension competition, Libeskind has won numerous international architectural awards and competitions as well as commissions for other museums. In 1988 the Museum of Modern Art, New York, included Libeskind (along with architects Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Bernard Schumi, and the team Coop Himmelblau) in the exhibition "Deconstructivist Architecture" curated by Philip Johnson and Mark Wigley.

Libeskind has taught and lectured in Australia, Europe, Japan, South America, and United States. The bulk of the teaching materials in this collection is related to his tenure as Head of the Department of Architecture at Cranbrook Academy of Art. His academic appointments also include Visiting Professor at Harvard University, the Louis Sullivan Professorship at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Bannister Fletcher Professorship at the University of London, the Davenport Chair at Yale University, and the Lee Chair at University of California, Los Angeles.

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