A serious crowd, consisting mainly of students, formed around a small parterre in the Manege. Although, I must say, it is a pity that Daniel Libeskind turned his lecture into some very standard presentation - he simply showed some of his works in a row, without accompanying the show with any fascinating commentary. The words spoken by the author of the famous Jewish museums in Berlin and San Francisco and the no less famous project on the site of the Twin Towers in New York were somehow standard, any architect could comment on his projects in a similar way. He didn’t seem to say anything, at least he didn’t say anything special. But Daniel Libeskind is a theorist, thinker, this is one of the most original "stars" in the global horizon.
The fate of Libeskind the architect is quite unusual. Having started as a professional musician, he turned his life abruptly by deciding to become an architect. True, according to him, it is quite possible to put an equal sign between architecture and music, because when designing, you always think about acoustics, says Daniel Libeskind. As in music, here you cannot limit yourself to just an intellectual idea - this is also the sphere of the emotional. The second sharp turn in his fate is associated with the emigration from pro-communist Poland to a democratic paradise called the United States. But even here Libeskind decided to look for his original path in the profession. He was unable to work in someone else's workshop and decided to be independent at the very beginning of his career as an architect. This bore fruit - the first building Libeskind built was the grandiose building of the Jewish Museum in Berlin. Then, at an international competition, his project left many celebrities behind.
Daniel Libeskind holds a PhD in Architecture Theory. When asked about his theoretical works, he noticed that in this sense he was not like other architects - who usually build at the beginning, and in the second half of their life they summarize, write books and theoretical works. He did everything the other way around - in the beginning he wrote a lot, curated exhibitions, was engaged in research and only now began to build. Nevertheless, Daniel Libeskind emphasized, “it’s impossible not to write”, because architecture - he is sure of this - is still a synthetic art, which is based on memory.
Daniel Libeskind began his lecture with an important project for him personally at the site of the World Trade Center in New York. In 2003, Libeskind's bureau was chosen as the general designer to develop the concept of the future memorial complex. His partners in this work were Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Santiago Calatrava, SOM, who designed individual parts of this grandiose ensemble. In the center of the complex is the "Tower of Freedom" - a symbol of the inviolability of the values of American democracy. But, on the other hand, according to Daniel Libeskind, this project is of particular importance for him personally, it contains the experience of Libeskind himself - the image of the new free world, which he discovered when he emigrated to America from Poland at the age of 19. The rectangular tower crowned with a spire with cut corners forms, according to the architect's plan, the silhouette of new Manhattan, embodying not only the memory of what happened, but also the movement forward, renewal. Libeskind deliberately left half of the giant site empty - it will be occupied by a vast park in place of the destroyed towers. To enter the park, you will need to go through the tower. Two moments become key in the composition of the complex: the first is the rays of light directed at the points where the "twin" skyscrapers stood. And the second is a drawing of the general plan, reminiscent of the rays from the torch of the statue of liberty.
In the American city of Denver, Daniel Libeskind designed the art museum complex. Its sharp geometric shapes imitate the surrounding rocky formations - the key to understanding the image, according to the architect, is the relationship between natural and cultural. The facades of the adjacent rectangular buildings, in contrast to the metal surfaces of the museum, are mostly glazed. Compositionally, they support the geometric bacchanalia of the museum volume due to the similar broken "inserts" in the structure of glazed passages and "loggias". Following the fate of Bilbao, Denver has changed a lot after the opening of this unique museum, investments flowed to it, residential construction began, and the city received its new symbol.
The project of the exhibition center for Milan Fiera Milano, on the master plan of which Daniel Libeskind has been working since 2004 together with Zaha Hahid and Arata Isozaki, is a long-term idea, its final implementation is planned for 2014. In the very center of the city, on the site of the old exhibition buildings, a multifunctional a complex consisting of office, residential, retail and museum parts of different heights, located around a central park and a round piazza. Its area is 4 times larger than the aforementioned Ground Zero in New York. This project, as conceived by Libeskind, presents a new form of interconnection between the historical center and modern development projects, which is the grandiose Fiera Milano. The silhouette dominant of the complex is formed by a composition of three curving and "talking to each other" skyscrapers, a lowered central one with a concave facade and two "prisms" turned towards it. These are almost sculptures, one of which is designed by Libeskind himself. By the way, he claims that such structures are not more expensive to build than ordinary glass rectangles. However, “it is not so important to build high,” says Libeskind, the main thing is that as a result, a new public space appears in the city.
Daniel Libeskind's projects are also being implemented in Asia, for example, in Singapore, a high-rise residential complex Reflections at Keppel Bay is currently under construction. Here the architect tried, as in the previous Milanese project, to offer a new image of housing: both in the form of high-rise buildings with very high-density apartments, and lowered blocks. The stunning silhouette of towers of different heights with a complex curve can be compared to a symphony of architectural forms, playing with their curved surfaces with sunlight. They are placed in pairs and connected by open green passages. Gardens covered with glass domes are laid out on complex roofs, and promenades and boulevards are arranged on the ground.
However, among the exceptionally large-scale projects in the portfolio of Daniel Libeskind, there are also private residential buildings. Here, the architect, he said, turned to the theme of 'prefabricated houses', familiar to Russians mainly from the example of five-story buildings. However, in the architecture of the villa, which Daniel Libeskind showed in his lecture, stamping does not lead to monotony and boredom - on the contrary, this villa, like the Denver Museum and many other works of Libeskind, looks like an inverted and well-cut pyramid. The point is probably in the quality of the factory that produces typical elements - and in the imagination of the architect who uses them. According to the author, the complex plasticity of this reflects the ups and downs of modern life. The architect, it should be noted, has repeatedly stressed that the house is covered with zinc panels and pointed to the poster of the sponsor of the lecture - RHEINZINK. The architect then equally gracefully showed the public a link to an internet project dedicated to this 'prefabricated house' - www.libeskind-villa.com. But it makes no sense to go to the address, this site is not working yet.
For Daniel Libeskind, architecture is not only a play of forms and technologies, even the most boring glass façade, in his words, “tells a story”. Each place is unique, so Daniel Libeskind considers it an architect's task to create a form that would be tied to its specific place. Which would be difficult to rearrange from place to place, even in the imagination. Real architecture, according to Daniel Libeskind, is designed to realize this “tangible connection” with the place and at the same time be directed to the future, which is especially important in the era of globalization. You can't argue with this position - but that's why Libeskind's buildings behave in a similar way all the time - either twisting or depicting a pyramid inverted and split into pieces - it's hard to say.
By the way - the title of the lecture is 'Breaking ground' - rather ambiguous. The organizers of the lecture translated it softly and solidly - “Leading the way”, but the main meaning of the word break is to break and break. If you try to translate the interlinear, it will turn out - breaking the surface of the earth, or something similar. Further, you can pay attention to the fact that Libeskind's buildings themselves look twisted and broken - it may seem to an inexperienced viewer that they grew like mushrooms out of the ground as a result of some kind of cataclysm like an earthquake (sorry, some grew up, others unscrewed). Libeskind's buildings are making their way, breaking the ground. And you can also remember that Libeskind, to some extent, is a good connoisseur of Jewish culture based on the Book and Text. And his site until recently consisted of text (which looked interesting, better than now).
So - a suspicion creeps into my soul that this theorist, an expert on words and forms - simply played with words, comparing the title of the lecture with his architecture, shown (for clarity of comparison) in a deliberately dry manner. I played with words and forms, but not everyone (it seems) understood him. Although it may not be so. It is a pity, however, that Daniel Libeskind said so little about his views.