Transcript: Architect Daniel Libeskind on Breaking Ground | Mar 12, 2005

The screen shows the cover of the book "Breaking ground. Adventures in life and architecture" by Daniel Libeskind. On top, a little boy in black and white bends down as if he was picking something from the floor. At the bottom, the landscape of a modern city.

Next, a male Interviewer and Daniel appear sitting down on stage addressing an audience as part of a conference.

The Interviewer is in his late forties. He has short brown hair and is clean-shaven. He wears a dark suit, white shirt and contrasting tie.

The Interviewer says WE'RE HERE TONIGHT TO TALK
ABOUT DANIEL'S BOOK,
BREAKING GROUND: ADVENTURES
IN LIFE AND ARCHITECTURE,
SO I THINK THAT WHAT WE'LL DO IS
WE'LL START TALKING ABOUT THE
BOOK, SINCE IT'S THE, THE BIG
NEWS OF THE DAY RIGHT NOW AND
THEN WE'LL GO TO SOME OF THE
PROJECTS, WE HAVE A FEW SLIDES
TO SHOW.
BUT MY FIRST QUESTION, I MEAN,
AND YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT
DANIEL LIBESKIND THAT HE SPENDS,
I THINK, MORE TIME ON AIRPLANES
THAN MOST OF US DO IN OUR
OFFICES OR SLEEPING AT NIGHT IN
OUR BEDS, HE'S A VERY
PERIPATETIC CHARACTER, I THINK
IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS OR MONTHS
HE'S BEEN TO EUROPE, NORTH
AMERICA, ALL OVER NORTH AMERICA,
INDIA, ALL KINDS OF DIFFERENT
PLACES, WHAT I WONDERED WHEN I
SAW THE BOOK WAS HOW ON EARTH
DID YOU FIND TIME TO WRITE IT?

Daniel laughs. He’s in his late forties. He has short dark hair, greying on top and is clean-shaven. He wears glasses, a full-buttoned black shirt and a matching suit.

The Interviewer continues
AND, AND HOW DID YOU WRITE
IT, I MEAN, DID YOU, DID YOU
WRITE IT ON, ON, ON THE PLANES
TRAVELLING OR --

A caption reads "Daniel Libeskind. Architect. Author of the book Breaking ground." Next, it changes to "York Event Theatre, Toronto. November 16, 2004."

Daniel says IT WAS --
AS A MATTER OF FACT, I WROTE IT
KIND OF IN-BETWEEN AND IN
ADDITION TO EVERYTHING ELSE I
WAS DOING, AND IN A WAY, THERE
IS A WISDOM TO THE FACT THAT IF
YOU'RE INVOLVED IN SOMETHING,
ONE MORE INVOLVEMENT IS JUST A
DROP IN AN OCEAN AND, AND IN A
WAY, IT WAS A LOT OF FUN, I SORT
OF COLLAGED A BOOK, CAME IN
DIFFERENT FORMS, DIFFERENT
PIECES, EDITED TOGETHER, BUT IT
WAS POWER OF KIND OF THE
WHIRLWIND OF EMOTIONS AND THINGS
THAT ARE PART OF MY LIFE.

The Interviewer says
AND THERE'S A LOT OF STUFF IN
THIS BOOK ABOUT YOU GROWING UP
IN POLAND, IMMIGRATING TO ISRAEL
AND THEN TO NEW YORK AND THERE'S
ALSO A LOT OF STUFF IN THIS BOOK
ABOUT THE WORLD TRADE CENTER AND
MAYBE SETTLING A FEW SCORES OR,
OR --

Daniel says NO.

The Interviewer says NO?

Daniel says NO, IT'S
NOT -- NO, I WANTED TO --

The Interviewer says
NOT SETTLING SCORES, BUT, BUT
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT.

Daniel says WELL, IN A
WAY, I WANTED TO WRITE A BOOK
THAT IS REFLECTING LIFE.
YOU KNOW, ARCHITECTURE SEEMS TO
BE, FOR MANY PEOPLE, SOMETHING
VERY REMOTE, YOU KNOW, DONE BY
PEOPLE IN HIGH-RISE OFFICES
SOMEWHERE WHERE POWERFUL PEOPLE
WITH MONEY, BUT ACTUALLY
ARCHITECTURE, AS I SEE IT, IS
PART OF LIFE AND IT'S NOT JUST
IT'S KIND OF ARCHITECT DOING
SOMETHING ARCHITECTURAL, BUT HOW
IS IT RELATED TO HISTORY, TO
BIOGRAPHY, TO MEMORY, TO DESIRE,
TO, TO THE HORIZONS OF, OF THE
NEW AND THAT'S WHAT THE BOOK IS,
IT'S A KIND OF A CROSS-SECTION
OF A VERY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF
ARCHITECTURE.

The Interviewer says
AND HOW DID IT COME INTO
BEING, WAS IT, WAS IT YOUR IDEA
TO DO THIS?

Daniel says AS A MATTER
OF FACT, IT WAS NOT MY IDEA,
SOMEBODY CAME TO ME AND SAID,
MISTER LIBESKIND, YOU KNOW, HE WAS
A LITERARY AGENT, AND HE SAID,
YOU KNOW, I'VE SPOKEN TO SO MANY
PEOPLE WHO WANT TO KNOW THE
STORY, HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH
YOUR IDEAS, HOW DID YOU, YOU
KNOW, BECOME A MASTER PLANNER
FOR GROUND ZERO, DID YOU EVER
THINK OF WRITING A BOOK?
I SAID, NEVER, I HAD NO IDEA TO
WRITE A BOOK.
HE SAID, WOULD YOU -- DO YOU
THINK IT'S A GOOD IDEA?
I SAID, SURE, IT'S A GREAT IDEA,
SO WE DID -- LITTLE DID I KNOW
HOW TOUGH IT WAS GOING TO BE TO
PRODUCE A BOOK IN SUCH A SHORT
TIME.

The Interviewer says
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN
WORKING ON IT?
OR HOW LONG DID YOU WORK ON IT?

Daniel says LESS THAN A
YEAR.

The Interviewer says
THAT'S NOT VERY LONG.

Daniel says NO, BUT --

The Interviewer says
TAKES ME THAT LONG TO WRITE
AN ARTICLE SOMETIMES.
(They both laugh)

Daniel says BUT IT
SEEMED, IT'S VERY, IT WAS A
CHALLENGE, ABSOLUTELY.

The Interviewer says
SO YOU DIDN'T DICTATE INTO A
TAPE MACHINE ON, ON YOUR, ON
YOUR --

Daniel continues NO, I
DIDN'T DICTATE, I WROTE, THERE
WERE FRAGMENTS WRITTEN,
CORRECTED, RECONNECTED,
REWRITTEN, I HAD VERY GOOD
EDITORS AND PEOPLE TO HELP ME
AND --

The Interviewer says
SO IS THIS, IS THIS VOLUME
ONE OF, OF A SERIES OF BOOKS?

Daniel giggles and says
NO, I THINK IT'S ENOUGH FOR NOW.

The Interviewer says
BECAUSE I'M SURE THERE'D BE A
LOT MORE TO WRITE ABOUT.

Daniel says WELL, IT'S
JUST, AS I SAID, IT DOESN'T
CLAIM TO, TO ANYTHING MORE THAN
KIND OF A CROSS-SECTION OF AN
EXPERIENCE, THAT DIDN'T TAKE ME
FROM POINT A TO POINT B AS IF IT
WAS THE SHORTEST LINE BETWEEN
TWO POINTS, BUT KIND OF THE
SHORTEST LINE IS A VERY
TORTUOUS AND VERY UNPREDICTABLE
LINE, BECAUSE I DIDN'T START
REALLY IN ARCHITECTURE AND THE
BOOK SORT OF IS, IS PART OF THE
STORY THAT UNFOLDS ALSO AS I SEE
ARCHITECTURE AS PART OF THE
STORY.

The Interviewer says
SO LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT, I
MEAN, YOU STARTED, YOU WERE BORN
IN POLAND AND BECAME FAMOUS, AT
LEAST IN POLAND, AS AN ACCORDION
PLAYER, A, A, A CHILD PRODIGY
ACCORDION PLAYER, NO LESS.
WHAT HAPPENED WITH THAT?

Daniel says WELL, IT'S
A VERY BIZARRE, YOU KNOW,
WHENEVER I MENTION THE WORD
"ACCORDION," PEOPLE SNEER AND
LAUGH AND, AND FEEL --

The Interviewer says
ROLL OUT THE BARREL KIND OF
THING.

Daniel continues THERE'S
SOMETHING REALLY SORT OF, YOU
KNOW, YOU ASSOCIATE ACCORDIONS
WITH THE POOR, WITH GYPSIES,
WITH LOCAL FOLKLORE, BUT IT'S
STRANGE, BECAUSE MY DESTINY WAS
TO PLAY THAT INSTRUMENT.
THOUGH I WANTED TO PLAY THE
PIANO, MY PARENTS WERE TOO
AFRAID, THEY TOLD ME TO BRING
THE PIANO TO THE COURTYARD,
BECAUSE OF OUR NEIGHBOURS.

The Interviewer says
BECAUSE IT WOULD CALL
ATTENTION?

Daniel continues IT WOULD
CALL ATTENTION TO US, IT WOULD
SINGLE US ONCE AGAIN AS, AS THE
JEWS, SO THEY SAID, WE'LL GET
YOU A PIANO IN A SUITCASE THAT,
YOU KNOW, CAN SNEAK INTO THE
HOUSE AND, YOU KNOW, IT WAS IN A
SUITCASE AND, AND, YOU KNOW,
THAT WAS THE PIANO THAT I
INHERITED SOMEHOW AND IT WAS A
STRANGE DESTINY, BECAUSE WHEN I
WON THE AMERICA-ISRAEL PRIZE FOR
MUSIC, WHICH WAS A SERIOUS
MUSICAL PRIZE, AND IN ISRAEL,
EVERYBODY PLAYS AN INSTRUMENT,
AT LEAST AT THAT POINT, EVERYONE
PLAYED A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT,
THERE WERE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE
COMPETING AND I WAS REALLY ONE
OF THE VERY LUCKY WINNERS
TOGETHER ITZHAK PERLMAN, THE
GREAT VIOLINIST.

The Interviewer says UH-HUH.

Daniel continues AND ISAAC
STERN WAS THE HEAD OF THE JURY,
ZINO FRANCESCATTI WAS ON THE
JURY, MRS... SOME GREAT PEOPLE,
SAID TO ME, YOU KNOW, MISTER
LIBESKIND, WHY DID YOU EVER PLAY
THIS SMALL PIANO, YOU NEED TO
HAVE A BIG ONE!
YOU KNOW, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
AND THEN, OF COURSE, MY -- BY
THAT TIME, MY, MY HANDS, MY, MY
MIND WAS VERTICAL, WASN'T
HORIZONTAL.

The Interviewer says
SO WAS IT EASY, IT WAS AN
EASY STEP TO GO FROM THE
VERTICAL PLAYING OF THE
ACCORDION TO DESIGNING
BUILDINGS.

Daniel says WELL, IN A
WAY I GOT INVOLVED, I WAS ALWAYS
LOVED ART AND PAINTING AND
DRAWING AND I ALWAYS DID THIS AS
PART OF MY, SORT OF WHAT I LOVED
TO DO.
AS, AS IT WAS WITH MUSIC, AND
SOMEHOW IT DRIFTED INTO, VIA THE
SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, WHICH I
WAS VERY INTERESTED IN, INTO
ARCHITECTURE, WHICH SEEMED TO
COMBINE SO MANY INTERESTING
THINGS.

The Interviewer says
BUT YOU TALK IN THE BOOK
ABOUT YOUR MOTHER AND YOUR
MOTHER SITTING YOU DOWN AND
SAYING, DANIEL, AN ARTIST IS NOT
A GOOD THING, BUT BEING AN
ARCHITECT --

Daniel says IT'S TRUE,
BECAUSE IN MY FIRST YEAR OF
STUDIES, I STUDIED IN THE SAME
COURSE AS ARTISTS, PAINTERS AND
IT, YOU KNOW, SO YOU COULD
BECOME EITHER AN ARTIST OR, OR
AN ARCHITECT.
AT THE COOPER UNION IN NEW YORK.
AND I WAS REALLY STRONGLY
FEELING, YOU KNOW, I'D LIKE TO
BE A PAINTER, I'D LIKE, YOU
KNOW, AND MY MOTHER ONCE SAID A
VERY WISE THING TO ME, SHE SAID,
YOU KNOW, YOU SHOULD GET A
TRADE, YOU KNOW, A RESPONSIBLE
PERSON SHOULD HAVE A TRADE,
BECAUSE YOU CAN ALWAYS DO ART IN
ARCHITECTURE, BUT YOU CANNOT DO
ARCHITECTURE IN ART, WHICH MEANS
THAT YOU CAN REALLY, YOU KNOW,
GET TWO FISH ON ONE HOOK.

The Interviewer says UH-HUH.

Daniel continues AND SHE
SAID THIS TO ME WHILE SHE WAS
DEBONING A CARP.
(The Audience laughs)

The Interviewer says
BUT, BUT THAT IS THE
INTERESTING THING ABOUT
ARCHITECTURE, ISN'T IT, THAT IT
IS A TECHNICAL TRADE, BUT IT'S
ALSO AN ART FORM, MAYBE THAT'S
SOMETHING THAT, THAT WE FORGET
AND THAT EVEN ARCHITECTS FORGET.

Daniel says YOU, YOU'RE
ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, IT'S A
FASCINATING FIELD, BECAUSE IT'S
KIND OF A RANGE OF ALMOST ALL
POSSIBILITIES, IT RANGES FROM
VERY PRAGMATIC, TECHNICAL THINGS
TO THE MOST ETHEREAL, INEFFABLE
IDEAS ABOUT HUMAN LIFE AND
SPACE.

The Interviewer says
BUT I MEAN, IN THE COURSE OF
WHAT I DO, YOU KNOW, LOOKING AT
BUILDINGS THAT GET BUILT, MOSTLY
IN TORONTO, BUT IN OTHER PLACES,
I MEAN, I'M CONSTANTLY STRUCK BY
THE FACT THAT IT SEEMS TO ME
THAT THE ARCHITECTS THEMSELVES
AREN'T AWARE OF THE
POSSIBILITIES OF THEIR
PROFESSION.

Daniel says I THINK
IT'S A COGENT REMARK, BECAUSE I
THINK THE 20th CENTURY WAS A
CENTURY THAT, THAT REDUCED
ARCHITECTURE TO A FEW ISMS, YOU
KNOW, KIND OF IDEOLOGIES ABOUT
MINIMALISM, ABOUT MACHINERY,
ABOUT TECHNOLOGY, ALL THESE
SLOGANS TENDED TO, TO REALLY
REDUCE ARCHITECTURE FROM WHAT IT
USED TO BE. KIND OF AN
ART OF PEOPLE, OF CULTURE, A
STORYTELLING ART THAT TELLS YOU
SOMETHING ABOUT A BUILDING WHICH
IS MORE THAN WHAT IT COST AND,
YOU KNOW, WHO COMMISSIONED IT,
BUT TOLD YOU SOMETHING ABOUT THE
PAST, TOLD YOU SOMETHING INTO
THE FUTURE AND IN A WAY I THINK
WE ARE LIVING IN A CENTURY WHICH
IS REDISCOVERING THAT
ARCHITECTURE ISN'T JUST A
MARCHING ORDER FOR THE MASSES,
BUT IT IS AN ART OF CIVIC LIFE.

The Interviewer says
AND I SUPPOSE WHAT YOU DO, I
MEAN, COMES OUT OF THAT, IN A
SENSE, YOU ARE PART OF THE
REACTION AGAINST WHAT, THREE OR
FOUR OR FIVE DECADES OF THAT
KIND OF ARCHITECTURE, WHERE
EVERY BUILDING, NO MATTER WHAT
ITS PURPOSE, LOOKS THE SAME.

Daniel says OH,
ABSOLUTELY, I REBELLED EVEN IN
MY SCHOOLING, WHEN WE WERE TOLD,
YOU KNOW, HERE'S A GRID AND
START, YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW, I
QUESTIONED WHY, WHY DO WE START
BY, BY REPETITIVE IDEA, BY, BY
THE IDEA THAT, THAT ARCHITECTURE
IS CREATED SIMPLY IN A
MECHANICAL WAY.
SURE, IT IS AN INDUSTRIAL ART,
AS WELL, BUT IT IS, ITS SOURCES
ARE NOT MECHANICAL, ITS SOURCES
ARE HUMAN AND AS LONG AS IT
STAYS IN A HUMAN DISCIPLINES, IT
WILL NEVER BE REDUCED TO JUST,
YOU KNOW, A BIG HAIR DRYER ON
THE HORIZON OR A HUGE WASHING
MACHINE SOMEWHERE STANDING --

The Interviewer says EXACTLY.

Daniel continues -- OR A
DEODORANT.

The Interviewer says
BUT ONE OF THE THINGS THAT
I'M STRUCK BY IS YOU SEEM TO
HAVE KIND OF SPRUNG FULL, FULLY
FORMED ONTO THE SCENE, I MEAN,
THERE WERE NO, THERE WERE NO
SORT OF BUILDINGS, YOU KNOW,
BUILT SOMEWHERE WHERE -- THAT
NOBODY'S HAD A LOOK AT, NOTHING
THAT YOU'RE TRYING TO HIDE AWAY,
I MEAN, THE FIRST THING WAS THE
JEWISH MUSEUM WHICH KIND OF, I
MEAN, STANDS OUT NOW AND I THINK
WILL STAND OUT FOR, FOR AS LONG
AS IT'S THERE.

Daniel says THANK YOU.
WELL, MY WIFE WHO IS MY PARTNER
AND MY BIGGEST CRITIC, CALLS ME
A LATE BLOOMER, YOU KNOW,
BECAUSE, IT'S TRUE, I DIDN'T, I
DIDN'T, YOU KNOW, I ALWAYS
PURSUED ARCHITECTURE, BUT I, I,
WHEN I WAS DRAWING, WHEN I WAS
TEACHING, WHEN I WAS WRITING, I
THOUGHT I WAS DOING
ARCHITECTURE.
BUT I, I NEVER WANTED TO DO IT
ON THE SORT OF CONVENTIONAL WAY
OF -- AND I TRIED IT FOR A FEW
DAYS HERE AND THERE, AS I
DESCRIBE IN THE BOOK.
I TRIED WITH SOME FAMOUS
ARCHITECTS TO WORK AND I DIDN'T
ENJOY IT, I THOUGHT IT WAS VERY
DULL AND NOT REALLY INSPIRING,
SO I THOUGHT, MAYBE I'LL BE
LUCKY, I'LL BE ABLE TO DO IT IN
ANOTHER WAY AND I WAS LUCKY.

The Interviewer says
WELL, HAD YOU ENTERED OTHER
COMPETITIONS BEFORE --

Daniel says I ENTERED
ONLY ONE COMPETITION BEFORE IN
WHICH I WON.
WHICH WAS A, IN BERLIN, IN 1987,
COMPETING FOR CITY EDGE
BUILDING, A PROJECT WHICH SORT
OF LOOMED OVER THE BERLIN WALL
AND RECONSTRUCTED OR CONSTRUCTED
A WHOLE NEW IDEA OF URBANISM
AROUND THAT AREA.
AND OF COURSE, WHEN THE WALL
FELL, THE LANDS CHANGED, THAT
PROJECT WAS NOT REALISED, BUT
THAT WAS REALLY THE FIRST
COMPETITION I EVER ENTERED AND
THE JEWISH MUSEUM WAS THE FIRST
BUILDING I EVER COMPLETED --

The Interviewer says
AND THAT WAS WHAT, '88.

A picture on screen shows the 3 dimensional print of a modern construction surrounded by trees.

Daniel continues THAT WAS
'89, THE COMPETITION WAS HELD IN
'89, BUT IT TOOK 13 YEARS TO
BUILD THE BUILDING.

The Interviewer says
IS THAT, IS THAT NORMAL?

Daniel giggles and says NO.
IT'S NOT NORMAL.
IT'S A VERY APPARENT CASE,
BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, IT WAS NOT
ABOUT A BUILDING AND I NEVER
ACTUALLY ENTERED ARCHITECTURE TO
BUILD A FEW BUILDINGS, YOU KNOW,
I, I, I'M OFTEN AMAZED AT MANY
ARCHITECTS OR EVEN THE PUBLIC
THINKS OF BUILDINGS AS JUST
OBJECTS, YOU KNOW, SOME
PRODUCTS, WE NEED A PROJECT
HERE, A PROJECT THERE, BUT I
THOUGHT IT WAS SOMETHING ELSE
AND, AND THE JEWISH MUSEUM
CERTAINLY WASN'T JUST ABOUT A
BUILDING, IT WAS OF COURSE ABOUT
A BUILDING ARCHITECTURALLY, BUT
HOW TO COMMUNICATE SOMETHING
BEYOND THE OBVIOUS, HOW TO, HOW
TO CONNECT THE CITY WITH ITS OWN
TRAGIC HISTORY AND HOW TO GIVE A
LIGHT TO --

The Interviewer says
AND THEN HOW TO TELL THE
STORY USING ARCHITECTURE AS THE
VOCABULARY.

Daniel continues BECAUSE
ARCHITECTURE HAS A LIMITED
VOCABULARY AND YOU CAN'T STAND
IN FRONT OF THE BUILDING AND IF
YOU COULD, YOU WOULD WRITE A
BOOK ABOUT IT, BUT IN FACT, THE
BUILDING HAS TO SPEAK IN A
LANGUAGE OF VERY LIMITED MEANS,
MATERIALS, CIRCULATION OF THE
PUBLIC, LIGHT IN THE BUILDING,
TEMPERATURE, ACOUSTICS --

The Interviewer says
THOSE ARE JUST THE MEANS TO
THE END, AREN'T THEY --

Daniel says THOSE ARE
THE MEANS TO THE END AND OF
COURSE, IF A BUILDING IS STUCK
IN ITS TECHNIQUES, IT'S LIKE A
MUSICIAN, YOU KNOW, PLAYING AN
INSTRUMENT, IF ALL YOU HEAR IS A
GOOD TECHNIQUE AND, YOU KNOW,
YOU DON'T HEAR BACK, YOU JUST
HEAR A GOOD TECHNICAL --

The Interviewer says
BUT WHEN YOU HEAR A GOOD
MUSICIAN OR GOOD COMPOSER, IT
MAKES IT SOUND EASY, DOESN'T IT?

Daniel says IT MAKES IT
SOUND EASY, BECAUSE A GREAT
COMPOSER AND GREAT MUSICIAN SORT
OF OBLITERATES THROUGH THE
TECHNIQUE, THE TECHNIQUE SORT OF
EVAPORATES AND YOU HEAR
SOMETHING BEYOND, WHICH IS THE
MUSIC ITSELF.

The Interviewer says
BUT WHEN YOU'RE WORKING ON A
PROJECT, I MEAN, YOU HAVE TO
DEAL WITH ALL THAT KIND OF
STUFF, HOW PEOPLE GET IN, HOW
THEY GET OUT, WHERE THE
WASHROOMS ARE, HOW THEY, HOW
THEY MOVE THROUGH THE BUILDING,
WHERE THE ELEVATORS ARE, ALL
THAT KIND OF STUFF.

Daniel says OF COURSE,
WELL, AS I ALWAYS THINK ABOUT
IT, ARCHITECTURE IS DOWN FROM
THE --

The Interviewer continues
DO YOU START WITH THAT OR DO
YOU START WITH THE, I MAN, I
KNOW THAT, THAT THE BUILDINGS
THAT I'VE TALKED TO YOU ABOUT
ARE BUILDINGS THAT STARTED WITH
AN IDEA, A SIMPLE IDEA SOMETIMES
AND THAT THAT IDEA SORT OF
INFORMS EVERYTHING THAT FOLLOWS
AFTERWARDS.

Daniel says IT'S TRUE,
IT'S AN IDEA, BUT IT'S NOT A
KIND OF A, JUST, NOT JUST A
FIGMENT OF THE IMAGINATION, BUT
IDEA WHICH IS GLOBAL ENOUGH TO
INCORPORATE EVERYTHING FROM THE
BRAIN, TO THE VISCERAL, TO THE
HEART, TO THE FEET, BECAUSE IF
IT DOESN'T WORK FOR THE ANKLES,
IT'S NOT GONNA WORK FOR THE
MIND.

The Interviewer says UH-HUH.
SO WE'RE GONNA SHOW SOME SLIDES
OF SOME OF THESE PROJECTS, BUT
JUST BEFORE THAT, MAYBE YOU CAN
JUST TALK FOR A LITTLE BIT ABOUT
WHAT YOU DID IN-BETWEEN THE
YEARS WHEN YOU ARRIVED AT COOPER
UNION AND BETWEEN, BETWEEN THEN
AND '89, WHEN YOU WON THE
COMPETITION FOR THE, FOR THE
JEWISH MUSEUM, I MEAN, THESE
WERE YOUR YEARS WHEN YOU
ACTUALLY LEARNED ARCHITECTURE.

Daniel says WELL, IN A
WAY, WHEN I FINISHED MY
PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION, I WENT
TO A VERY GOOD SCHOOL, I HAD
GREAT TEACHERS, GREAT MENTORS, I
REALISED I WAS A COMPLETE
IGNORAMUS.
YOU KNOW, THAT LEARNING ALL
THESE THINGS DIDN'T REALLY BRING
ME ANY CLOSER TO ARCHITECTURE.
SO I DELVED INTO A KIND OF, MY
OWN RESEARCH IN HISTORY, IN
PHILOSOPHY, IN, IN, IN LOOKING
AT BUILDINGS, ALSO, IN GOING TO
PLACES THAT ARE FAR AWAY, BUT
ALSO IN DRAWING, BECAUSE I THINK
DRAWING IS AN ETERNAL SOURCE OF,
OF ARCHITECTURE.
BUT I NEVER DREW FANTASY
BUILDINGS, I NEVER DREW JUST,
YOU KNOW, POTENTIAL BUILDINGS
WITHOUT CLIENTS, WHICH IS A KIND
OF A TRADITION IN THE 20th
CENTURY.
BUT I DREW, IN A WAY, SOMETHING
THAT IS AT THE CORE OF
ARCHITECTURE, BUT IS NOT AN
OBJECT.
IT'S A KIND OF, WHAT, WHAT IS
IT, I CAN'T EXPLAIN, IF YOU LOOK
AT THE DRAWINGS MAYBE, YOU SEE
THAT, THAT THE SEARCH, WHICH IS
IN THE DRAWINGS, BUT IT'S NOT
DIFFERENT FROM MANY OTHER
ARCHITECTS IN HISTORY, YOU KNOW,
WHEN PIERANESE DREW HIS PLANS
FOR CAMPO MARZIO, WHEN
MICHELANGELO DREW HIS PLANS, ANY

- YOU CAN GO BACK AND SORT OF
MEDIEVAL BUILDERS WHO DREW THOSE
INCREDIBLE DRAWINGS, IT WASN'T
ABOUT REPRESENTING A BUILDING,
IT WAS ABOUT A FAITH THAT A
CERTAIN KIND OF SPACE REGISTERS
IN THE SOUL.
AND --

The Interviewer says
BUT IT'S INTERESTING, I MEAN,
YOU KNOW, UP UNTIL MAYBE THE
EARLY 20th CENTURY, AN ARCHITECT
COULD WORK IN A NUMBER OF
DIFFERENT STYLES.
I MEAN, HE COULD PULL A, YOU
KNOW, DO A GOTHIC BUILDING ONE
DAY, DO A CLASSICAL BUILDING THE
NEXT DAY, I MEAN, THAT WAS HOW
THEY OPERATED, THEY WERE VERY
VERSATILE.
WHEREAS IT SEEMS TO ME NOW THAT
THE, THE JOB OF AN ARCHITECT IS
TO INVENT HIS OR HER OWN
LANGUAGE.
IS THAT --

Daniel says WELL, I
THINK AFTER THE END OF THE 19th
CENTURY, WHEN ARCHITECTURE SPLIT
FROM ENGINEERING, WHERE THERE
WAS KIND OF AESTHETICS OF
ARCHITECTURE ON ONE HAND,
ENGINEERS WHO CONSTRUCT BRIDGES
ON THE OTHER HAND, THAT, THAT
WHOLE SYSTEM OF DECORATIVE
ARCHITECTURE, THE NOSTALGIA FOR,
FOR ANTIQUITY, EVAPORATED,
BECAUSE WE -- THE METHODS OF
BUILDING BUILDINGS BECAME REALLY
A FOREFRONT OF THE FIELD. AND I DON'T
THINK WE CAN EVER GO BACK TO THE
NOSTALGIC VIEW OF RECREATING THE
BAROQUE, THE RENAISSANCE OR, YOU
KNOW, ANCIENT CHINESE
ARCHITECTURE.

The Interviewer says
NO, BUT, I MEAN, IF YOU THINK
ABOUT, IF YOU THINK ABOUT SOME
OF THE ESSENTIAL LESSONS OF
HISTORICAL ART, THE GOLDEN MEAN,
KIND OF THING, WHERE, WHERE
THERE'S AN UNDERSTANDING OF HOW
HUMAN BEINGS RELATE TO A SPACE,
WHAT THE RIGHT KIND OF --

Daniel says THAT HASN'T
CHANGED, BECAUSE HUMANS BEINGS
HAVEN'T CHANGED THAT MUCH,
UNFORTUNATELY.
SO IN FACT, WHEN I DESIGNED THE,
THE, THE SPIRAL FOR THE VICTORIA
AND ALBERT MUSEUM, I USED
FRACTALIZED GEOMETRY, WHICH IS
VERY CONTEMPORARY, BUT
UNDERPINNING THE FRACTAL
GEOMETRY IS THE GOLDEN SECTION,
IS THE LOGARITHMIC SPIRAL, SO IN
FACT THERE IS CONTINUITY IN GOOD
ARCHITECTURE, NOT IN THE, THE
BAD ARCHITECTURE IS JUST CUT OUT
IN A CARTOON, BUT I THINK THE
GREAT ARCHITECTS ARE ABLE TO
CONNECT THEMSELVES AND
PROPORTIONS IN HUMAN SCALE TO
THE DESIRE OF ARCHITECTURE THAT
IS RELATED TO PEOPLE AND --

The Interviewer says
SO DO, SO DO YOU SEE YOURSELF
AS PART OF A, OF A CONTINUUM
THAT GOES BACK TO THE ACROPOLIS
OR DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AS BEING
SORT OF SOMETHING --

Daniel says NO, I
CONSIDER MYSELF THE MOST OLD-
FASHIONED OF OLD ARCHITECTS.
REALLY.

The Interviewer says
YOU'RE THE MOST
OLD-FASHIONED --

Daniel continues I FEEL,
YES, I, I OFTEN DON'T ASSOCIATE
MYSELF WITH AVANT GARDE AND YOU
KNOW, THE -- I DO CONSIDER
MYSELF IN A VERY TRADITION LINE
OF ARCHITECTURE.
BECAUSE --

The Interviewer says
THAT'S INTERESTING, BECAUSE I
THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT
YOU'VE MANAGED TO DO IS YOU'VE
MANAGED TO SORT OF MAKE AVANT
GARDE, LEADING EDGE ARCHITECTURE
ALSO VERY POPULIST.
I MEAN, THERE'S THIS CONVERGING,
CONVERGENCE OF THESE TWO USUALLY
QUITE, YOU KNOW, OPPOSITE, POLAR
OPPOSITES, INTO ONE THING.
MAYBE YOU AND FRANK GEHRY ARE
THE ONLY ONES WHO'VE MANAGED TO
PULL THAT OFF.

Daniel says THAT'S AN
INTERESTING COMMENT, BUT I THINK
THERE IS NO CONTRADICTION
BETWEEN DOING SOMETHING, YOU
KNOW, CONTEMPORARY AND
ARCHITECTURE'S ALWAYS
CONTEMPORARY, THE WAY --

The Interviewer says
BUT YOU KNOW PEOPLE ARE QUITE
USED TO DISLIKING CONTEMPORARY
ARCHITECTURE, IF YOU, IF YOU
ASKED THE PEOPLE IN THIS ROOM TO
PUT UP THEIR HANDS, YOU KNOW,
WHO LIKES MODERN ARCHITECTURE, I
WOULD IMAGINE MOST PEOPLE WOULD
SAY THEY DON'T LIKE IT.

Daniel giggles and says I DON'T
BLAME THEM!

The Interviewer says
SO LET'S SEE SOME OF THESE
SLIDES.

The screen shows a caption of an old passport with stamps and notes from 1992.

The Interviewer continues
NOW THIS IS A PICTURE THAT, THAT
ALSO APPEARS IN THE BOOK,
BREAKING GROUND, AND
MAYBE YOU SHOULD EXPLAIN, I, I
DON'T THINK I NEED TO EXPLAIN.

Daniel says THIS IS MY
PASSPORT, MY AMERICAN PASSPORT
AND REALLY, I CONSIDER MY
MANIFESTO TO ARCHITECTURE,
BECAUSE AS I WAS COMING INTO THE
BORDERS OF GERMANY, SOME
OFFICIAL TRANSCRIBED IN RED INK,
NOT A VISA, YOU KNOW, USUALLY
YOU GET A VISA, A STAMP, A
PERMIT TO WORK FOR THREE MONTHS,
A YEAR, WHATEVER, BUT ON THE
BASIS OF WINNING THE
COMPETITION, HE TRANSCRIBED HERE
THAT MISTER LIBESKIND IS ALLOWED TO
COME TO GERMANY IN ORDER TO, YOU
KNOW, TRY TO BUILD THE JEWISH
MUSEUM IN BERLIN.
THAT'S THE VISA, THE VISA IS NOT
TO BE AN ARCHITECT OR TO WORK IN
GERMANY, IT'S FOR, IT'S A UNIQUE
VISA, BECAUSE IT'S FOR A
SPECIFIC IDEA AND OF COURSE, YOU
CAN IMAGINE THAT COMING TO
GERMANY WITH THIS PASSPORT AND,
AND, YOU KNOW, IT NOT BEING A
NORMAL INSCRIPTION IN PASSPORT,
THESE OFFICIALS WOULD READ AND
READ AND READ AND ALWAYS SAY THE
SAME THING TO ME, HERR
LIBESKIND, IS IT NOW FINISHED?
AND I WOULD
SAY, YOU KNOW, IT'S NOT YET, YOU
KNOW, IT'S JUST BEEN CANCELLED,
IT'S JUST, THE GOVERNMENT JUST
CHANGED, GERMANY WAS JUST
UNIFIED, THE SENATOR, THE NAME
OF THE MUSEUM HAS CHANGED, IT'S
UP IN THE AIR.
AND IT, YOU KNOW, IT WAS REALLY,
BUT I ALWAYS STUCK TO THIS IMAGE
THAT, THAT SOMEHOW THIS RED-
INKED PASSPORT PERMIT TO TRY TO
BUILD THIS BUILDING WAS KIND OF
SOMETHING THAT I KEPT IN MY
MIND, IT, IT WAS SOMETHING
SERIOUS AND YEAH, I KEPT TO IT.

The Interviewer says
YOU, YOU SAY IN THE BOOK THAT
YOU NEVER ACTUALLY GAVE INTO
DESPAIR FOR MORE THAN A MINUTE
OR TWO.
IT MUST HAVE BEEN AWFULLY
DIFFICULT TO MAINTAIN YOUR
ENTHUSIASM, BECAUSE I KNOW
YOU'RE A VERY ENTHUSIASTIC,
PASSIONATE PERSON.

Daniel says YES, I
DON'T THINK, IN ALL HONESTY, IF
I WASN'T WORKING WITH NINA, AND
IT'S ALSO, MY BOOK IS ALSO A
LOVE STORY, I DON'T THINK I
COULD DO IT ON MY OWN, BECAUSE
IF I WAS JUST ALONE, MAYBE I
WOULD FALL INTO THE, THE
CLASSICAL KIND OF DERAILMENT OF
EMOTION INTO SOME DEPTH OF
DEPRESSION.
BUT I ALWAYS KEPT IN BALANCE
BECAUSE I HAD SOMEONE WHO SHARED
THE SAME VALUES AND THE SAME
COMMITMENTS AND IN A WAY, THAT'S
PROBABLY THE SECRET TO HEALTH.

A new picture on screen shows a building’s facade. The structure is prismatic and has diagonal incisions on the sides that interrupt the line drawn by the small and thin windows spreaded on the top. A caption below reads "Bitter and Bredt."

The Interviewer says
I'LL LET YOU EXPLAIN THIS
ONE, TOO.

Daniel explains WELL, YOU
KNOW, THE BUILDING IS, OF
COURSE, A BUILDING IN A
HISTORICAL CENTRE AND IN A
DEVASTATED BERLIN, ALSO, BUT
IT'S INFORMED BY MANY EMBLEMATIC
IDEAS THAT ARE NOT VERY OBVIOUS,
BUT ARE PART OF THE BUILDING,
WHICH ARE NOT CLASSICALLY
ARCHITECTURE, THE SIX-POINTED
STAR, WITH THE LETTERS OF
"BERLIN," WHICH IS THE NAME OF
MANY JEWS WHO BECAME BERLINERS
BY TAKING THE NAME BERLIN.
THE SIX-POINTED STAR, THE SIX-
PRINTED NAME, AND THEN OF COURSE
I USED IDEAS FROM LITERATURE,
FROM MUSIC, INCOMPLETE OPERAS BY
SCHOENBERG, GUIDEBOOKS THAT WERE
OBSCURE BY WALTER BENJAMIN,
NAMES AND ADDRESSES OF BERLINERS
AROUND THIS KIND OF MATRIX THAT
IS NOT VERY OBVIOUS IN A NEW
CITY, BUT IS THERE AS PART OF
THE LEGACY OF THAT CITY AND ITS
MEMORY AND THAT'S, THAT'S
SOMEHOW WHAT THE BUILDING IS
BASED ON.

The Interviewer says
AND THAT, THAT WAS THE
RESEARCH YOU DID FOR THE, FOR
THE, FOR THE MUSEUM.

Daniel says ABSOLUTELY
AND IT'S NOT A RESEARCH THAT I
DID IN THE LIBRARY, EITHER.
IT WASN'T AS IF I HAD TO GO TO
ARCHIVES BECAUSE --

The Interviewer says
BUT I MEAN, DID YOU KNOW IT
WAS RESEARCH WHEN YOU WERE DOING
IT, OR WAS IT, IT WAS JUST STUFF
THAT YOU PICKED UP FROM HERE AND
THERE?

Daniel says IT WAS PART
OF MY HISTORY, IT WAS NOT
ABSTRACT, YOU KNOW, MY, MY UNCLE
NATHAN, WHO WAS ONE OF THE
POSTHUMOUSLY DECORATED HEROES OF
THE WARSAW GHETTO UPRISING, WAS
MARRIED TO A JEWISH WOMAN FROM
BERLIN, WHO CAME WITH HIM TO
LODZ, WHERE THEY BOTH PERISHED
IN WARSAW.
MY OTHER UNCLE WAS A STUDENT AT
HUMBOLDT UNIVERSITY, GOT A
DOCTORATE IN 1933, WAS EXPELLED
FROM BERLIN, WENT TO PALESTINE,
MARRIED, WITH HIS GERMAN WIFE,
SO ANYWAY, I HAVE CONNECTIONS TO
BERLIN AND ANYWAY, POLAND IS
JUST ON THE RING ROAD IN BERLIN,
SO IT WASN'T FAR FROM MY HEART.

The Interviewer says
ALL RIGHT, NEXT SLIDE,
PLEASE.
I'VE BEEN TO THE JEWISH MUSEUM
AND I CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT IT'S
A VERY, VERY POWERFUL PIECE OF
ARCHITECTURE, IT'S A VERY
EMOTIONAL BUILDING AND I HAD
NEVER REALISED, UNTIL I VISITED
IT, THAT A BUILDING IN AND OF
ITSELF, REGARDLESS OF THE
CONTENTS THAT IT HAS, YOU KNOW,
THE STUFF THAT'S IN IT, COULD
HAVE SUCH A POWERFUL EFFECT ON A
VISITOR.
AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I
FOUND SO INTERESTING IS THAT IT
WAS OPEN FOR MONTHS AND MONTHS
BEFORE ANYTHING WAS PUT INSIDE
THE MUSEUM, IN FACT, IT WAS
OPENED AS AN EMPTY BUILDING, BUT
STILL HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF
PEOPLE MADE THE EFFORT OF
ARRANGING A TOUR AND TRAMPING
THROUGH IT AND, I MEAN, SOME
HAVE EVEN GONE SO FAR AS TO SAY
THEY PREFERRED IT BEFORE
ANYTHING WAS PUT INSIDE IT.

A new side of the building appears next. From the top, the construction defines a zigzag course with pointy angles and straight, polished, walls in shades of grey.

Daniel says NO, YOU
KNOW, I DESIGNED IT AS A MUSEUM,
AND NOT AS AN EMPTY BUILDING,
BUT IT OPENED EMPTY BECAUSE THEY
HAD NOT DESIGNED EXHIBITIONS AND
THE PUBLIC WANTED TO EXPERIENCE
THE BUILDING, BUT I THINK THE
BUILDING SHOULD BE PART OF THE
STORY IT TELLS AND OF COURSE
YOU'LL NEVER GET THE STORY FULLY
FROM THE ARTEFACTS IN THE
MUSEUM, THESE ARE JUST
FRAGMENTS, THERE ARE NO GREAT
WORKS OF ART THERE, IT'S
FRAGMENTS OF, OF A, OF A JEWISH
HISTORY THAT WAS SO DEEP, 2,000-
YEAR-OLD HISTORY IN GERMANY OF
JEWS AND AT THE SAME TIME, THE
ERADICATION OF THAT HISTORY.
AND AT THE SAME TIME, WHAT WOULD
IT MEAN TO BUILD A BUILDING IF
IT HAD NO HOPE, IF THERE WAS NO
HOPE IN THE FUTURE, IF, IF WE
JUST, YOU KNOW, WE'RE, WE'RE
BELIEVING THAT THE PAST IS
UNFORGIVABLE OR NONVANISHING OR
IMMEMORABLE, SO YOU HAVE TO
CONNECT BOTH, YOU HAVE TO CREATE
SOMETHING I THINK THAT, THAT
SPEAKS TO THE PUBLIC ACROSS THE
ABYSS, ACROSS THE VOID, AS I
CALL IT, OF THE SPACE.

The Interviewer says
LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT VOID,
BECAUSE THAT IS ONE OF THE MOST
STRIKING PARTS OF THE MUSEUM IS
THIS VOID THAT RUNS RIGHT
THROUGH THE CENTRE OF IT, MORE
OR LESS AND IT'S A VOID THAT YOU
CAN'T ESCAPE, YOU CAN'T AVOID
THE VOID, IT'S ALWAYS THERE, YOU
HAVE TO PASS THROUGH IT AND DEAL
WITH IT SOMEHOW OR OTHER.

Daniel says IT WAS ONE
OF THE MOST DIFFICULT PARTS OF
BUILDING TO, TO REALISE, BECAUSE
THIS IS A PUBLIC BUILDING PAID
FOR BY, BY BERLIN, BY THE, BY
THE STATE OF BERLIN.

The Interviewer says
SO THEY THOUGHT IT WAS JUST
EMPTY SPACE.

Daniel continues SO THEY
THOUGHT, YOU KNOW, WHY ARE WE
WASTING THIS SPACE, YOU KNOW,
WHICH IS, WHICH IS UNUSUAL,
BECAUSE IT'S NOT A PLACE TO HANG
PAINTINGS, IT'S, IT'S, IT'S JUST
A CONCRETE... HAS LIGHT, HAS A
LIGHT LINE WHICH DISCONNECTED,
BUT RUNS ACROSS THIS VOID.
BUT I THOUGHT IT WAS EXTREMELY
IMPORTANT FOR VISITORS TO HAVE A
GLIMPSE INTO A SPACE THAT IS
BOTH IN THE MUSEUM AND ALSO
ETERNALLY OUTSIDE THE MUSEUM.
AND THAT THIS MOMENT OF
REFLECTION CONNECTS PEOPLE WHO
MAY NOT NOTICE HISTORY, BECAUSE
THEY'RE ANOTHER GENERATION OF
THE PUBLIC --

New images offer new views from different angles of the museum building.

The Interviewer says
AND DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THAT
THE CHANCELLOR WAS WALKING
THROUGH THE BUILDING ON, ON THE
OPENING DAY AND CAME TO THE, THE
PART OF THE VOID WHERE THOSE
LITTLE SORT OF FACES ARE CUT OUT
OF STEEL, THERE'S A WHOLE PILE
OF THEM ON THE FLOOR AT ONE
POINT IN THIS THING AND THAT HE
SORT OF FELL TO, TO ONE OF HIS
KNEES AND SORT OF, AM I WRONG?

Daniel says YES, NO,
IT'S CORRECT, IT WAS VERY
MOVING.
THE CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY AND HE
DID IT TWICE, HE FELL ON HIS
KNEES THERE, AND WHEN MY FATHER,
WHO CAME, YOU KNOW, HE, HE, TO
THE, WHEN THE JUST EMPTY
BUILDING OPENED, WAS SITTING AT
A TABLE AND THE CHANCELLOR CAME,
YOU KNOW, IT WAS A BIG EVENT
WHEN THE BUILDING OPENED EMPTY
AND WHEN, WHEN HE CAME OVER TO
MY FATHER, MY FATHER TRIED TO
STAND UP, HE WAS AN OLD MAN, THE
CHANCELLOR SAID, NO, PLEASE SIT
DOWN, AND HE KNELT BY MY FATHER
AND I THOUGHT, YOU KNOW, HOW
INCREDIBLE THE TIME HAS CHANGED,
HERE'S MY FATHER, A SURVIVOR OF
THE HOLOCAUST, THE CHANCELLOR OF
GERMANY, IN A BUILDING THAT IS
ALSO, YOU KNOW, ORIENTED BY THE
VOID AND YET SHOWS THE RICHNESS
OF LIFE THAT WAS BERLIN AND THAT
WAS GERMANY.

The Interviewer says
I WONDER IF THAT COULD HAVE
HAPPENED IN ANY OTHER BUILDING.

Daniel says YOU KNOW,
THE MAYOR OF BERLIN, DIEPGEN,
WHO WAS AGAINST THIS PROJECT FOR
MANY YEARS, SAID TO ME ONCE, MISTER
LIBESKIND, WE WOULD HAVE NEVER
BUILT THIS BUILDING IF IT HAD
ANOTHER SHAPE AND I DON'T KNOW
WHAT HE MEANT BY IT, BUT HE
SAID, HAD IT BEEN ANYTHING ELSE,
WE COULD HAVE EASILY CANCELLED
IT, BUT SOMEHOW HE IMPLIED THAT
THIS SPACE ITSELF INSCRIBED
ITSELF SORT OF IN THE MINDS OF,
OF THE CITIZENS AND THEY CALLED
IT, OF COURSE, WHEN I FIRST WON
THE COMPETITION, THEY GAVE IT A
NAME, IN ALL THE PAPERS, IT WAS
CALLED THE BLITZ, WHICH MEANS
THE LIGHTNING BOLT.
AND IT WAS NOT MY NAME, BUT IT
JUST BECAME ASSOCIATED WITH THE
PROJECT.
AND PROBABLY THE SHAPE OF SPACE
IS SOMETHING VERY, VERY
IMPORTANT WHETHER A BUILDING
GETS BUILT OR NOT.

The Interviewer says
LET'S SEE THE NEXT SLIDE,
PLEASE.

Next, a picture captures a blurry man who climbs up the stairs inside the museum. It features the numerous angles of the building as well as the presence of straight, rigid, lines in different directions.

The Interviewer continues
I GUESS AT THIS POINT, THIS IS
SORT OF A TRADEMARK OR
SIGNATURE, I MEAN, I GUESS YOU,
YOU DON'T LIKE TO THINK OF IT IN
THOSE TERMS, BUT I MEAN, THESE
ZIGZAG WINDOWS AND THE, THE SORT
OF MONOLITHIC CLADDING KIND OF
THING.
THAT'S SOMETHING THAT'S
REAPPEARED IN OTHER BUILDINGS.

Daniel says NOT IN THE
SAME WAY.

The Interviewer says
DO YOU HAVE A LANGUAGE?
I MEAN, OR DO YOU START FROM
SCRATCH EVERY TIME?

Daniel says NO, YOU
HAVE TO START FROM SCRATCH, BUT
YOU, YOU HAVE TO DO IT YOURSELF,
YOU CAN'T PULL IT OUT OF A
DRAWER OR A FORMULA.
AND, YOU KNOW, I, I THOUGHT
ABOUT THIS, BECAUSE, YOU KNOW,
PEOPLE ASK ME, BUT THINK OF OLD
ARCHITECTS, THINK OF THE
ARCHITECTS OF MEDIEVAL -- OR
COMPOSERS, EVEN BETTER, MOZART.

The Interviewer says UH-HUH.

Daniel continues YOU CAN
ALWAYS RECOGNISE A MOZART --

The Interviewer says THAT'S TRUE.

Daniel says HE MIGHT BE
WRITING A DIVERTIMENTO, WHICH IS
FOR FUN AND DANCING, OR THE
REQUIEM, WHICH IS A TRAGIC
PIECE, BUT YOU CAN ALWAYS TELL
THAT IT IS ABSOLUTELY FROM HIS
SOUL AND WHY SHOULDN'T THE
BUILDING HAVE A CHARACTER?
OF COURSE IT HAS TO HAVE
DIFFERENT ASPECTS, DIFFERENT
FUNCTIONS, DIFFERENT SIGHTS,
DIFFERENT UNIQUENESS, BUT IT, IT
SHOULD NOT EVER BE ANONYMOUS BOX
CREATED BY A DISINTERESTED
PARTY.

The Interviewer says
NO, BUT FOR EXAMPLE, I
VISITED THE JEWISH MUSEUM IN
COPENHAGEN, WHICH YOU ALSO
DESIGNED, WHICH OPENED, WHAT,
ABOUT TWO OR THREE MONTHS AGO,
MAYBE A LITTLE BIT MORE, OPENED
IN THE SUMMER, IT'S A MUCH, MUCH
SMALLER BUILDING THAN THIS, IN
FACT, IT'S BASICALLY KIND OF A,
A ROOM IN A, IN A HISTORIC, IN
AN OLD BOAT HOUSE BUILT BY THE,
THE DANISH ROYALTY, WHAT, IN THE
18th, 17th CENTURY.

Daniel says 17th
CENTURY, YEAH.

The Interviewer continues
AND OF COURSE, THE HISTORY OF
WORLD WAR 2 AND THE JEWS IN
COPENHAGEN WAS ENTIRELY
DIFFERENT FROM THAT IN BERLIN.
I MEAN, THIS WAS A HISTORY WHERE
ALMOST EVERY JEWISH CITIZEN WAS
SAVED.
AND SO IT'S A, IT'S A HAPPY
STORY --

Daniel says IT'S A VERY
DIFFERENT, IT'S A VERY DIFFERENT
FEELING.
THE VERY DIFFERENT --

The Interviewer continues
AND IT'S A LIGHTER BUILDING,
IT'S WOOD.
The screen shows the picture of one of the rooms in the interior of the museum. The roof is made of bricks in curvy and arched surfaces. The walls are bright and illuminated, built in angles that define the intricate corridor that conducts the exhibition and connects the different rooms.

Daniel says IT'S WOOD,
IT'S VERY RELATED TO, TO A STORY
OF THE SHIPS OF DENMARK, BOTH
THE SPACE, BECAUSE THE SPACE IS
IN A VAULTED OLD BOATHOUSE OF
THE KING, WHICH BECAME THEN THE
ROYAL LIBRARY AND NOW IT'S THE
JEWISH MUSEUM OF DENMARK.
AND I THOUGHT THERE WAS A VERY
INTERESTING, LAYERED, LIKE A
TEXT THAT HAS MANY DIFFERENT
LAYERS, THE LAYERS OF BOATS, THE
LAYERS OF WOOD, THE LAYERS OF
THE FACT THE JEWS WERE SAVED BY
BEING PUT ON BOATS AND, AND
GIVEN WAY TO FREEDOM AND SAFETY
IN SWEDEN.
SO YES, IT'S A VERY DIFFERENT
ATMOSPHERE, AGAIN, BUT IT IS
DEFINITELY A BUILDING THAT I'M
RESPONSIBLE FOR.

The Interviewer says
THESE ARE THESE SLIP WINDOWS
THAT I'M SUGGESTING --

Daniel says WELL, THESE
WINDOWS ARE --

The Interviewer says

- TO DANIEL'S CHAGRIN ARE A
TRADEMARK --

Daniel says NO, THEY'RE
NOT REALLY, BECAUSE THESE ARE
NOT REALLY WINDOWS.
THEY'RE NOT REALLY MEANT TO, YOU
KNOW, OPEN SOMETHING AND LOOK
OUT, THEY ARE ACTUALLY ALMOST A
TOPOGRAPHICAL MAP OF, OF THAT
STAR OF DAVID THAT YOU SAW
PROJECTED ONTO THE BUILDING
ITSELF. SO WHEN YOU
LOOK ACROSS, YOU'RE LOOKING
ACROSS VERY OFTEN INDETERMINATE
TERRITORY, AND YET YOU'RE
LOOKING ACROSS A LINE THAT
CONNECTS YOU TO A NAME, TO A
PERSON, TO AN ADDRESS THAT USED
TO BE THERE, BECAUSE BERLIN IS
COMPLETELY NEW NOW, IT'S NOT THE
SAME BERLIN, MORE THAN 55 PERCENT OF
BERLIN WAS COMPLETELY WIPED OUT
IN THE BOMBINGS.

Daniel says SO AGAIN,
IT'S, IT'S MORE A CO-ORDINATE
SYSTEM TO REORIENT YOURSELF TO
THE NEW BERLIN BUT ALSO TO THE
BERLIN THAT IS NO LONGER THERE.

The Interviewer says OKAY, NOW WE'RE INTO
MANCHESTER, THE IMPERIAL WAR
MUSEUM, WHICH WAS, I GUESS, THE
SECOND BIG PROJECT THAT YOU
WORKED ON.

Daniel says YES.

A new building appears on screen. Its main facade is a prismatic block that grows from a slightly curved surface and ends with an asymmetrical edge.

The Interviewer continues
A SIMILAR KIND OF PROGRAM IN
THE SENSE THAT YOU HAVE TO
COMMEMORATE SOMETHING AS WELL AS
BUILD A BUILDING THAT CAN
DISPLAY OBJECTS.
THE IDEA FOR THIS ONE WAS THE
SHATTERED GLOBE.

Daniel says ABSOLUTELY,
YOU SEE THE DIFFERENT PIECES,
EVERYTHING HAS BEEN DERIVED FROM
A CURVED, LIKE A SPHERE, LIKE
THE GLOBE BROKEN INTO PIECES AND
THEN REASSEMBLED IN A
FRAGMENTARY WAY... BRING LIFE
BACK TO THIS VERY DEVASTATED
AREA, THAT WAS DEVASTATED IN
WORLD WAR 2, DEVASTATED BY ALSO
INDUSTRIAL SORT OF NEGLECT.
AND, AND THE BUILDING IS VERY
PRECISE, EVEN THE FLOOR OF THE
BUILDING IS THE CURVE OF THE
EARTH, SOME TWO METRES ON THE
HORIZON IS LOWER THAN IN THE
CENTRE OF THE BUILDING.
AND IT HAS A VERY PARTICULAR
MISSION, IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT A
SCULPTURED FORM THAT LOOKS
INTERESTING, IT'S ABOUT
TRANSMITTING TO THE VISITORS
THAT WHETHER THEY'RE IN THE
OBSERVATORY ON TOP, WHETHER
THEY'RE IN THE EARTH SHARD ON
THAT CURVED FLOOR, WHETHER
THEY'RE IN THE RESTAURANT IN
THE, IN THAT CONCAVE CURVE,
THEY'RE PART OF AN ONGOING
CONFLICT, THE WORLD IS IN
CONFLICT AND EXHIBITIONS HERE
ARE NOT TO COMMEMORATE OR
GLORIFY WAR, BUT TO SAY THAT
THESE CONFLICTS ARE
INTERCONNECTED.
THAT, THAT WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND
THAT WHAT IS UNFOLDING NOW,
WHETHER IT'S THE MIDDLE EAST OR
ASIA OR WHATEVER, IS PART OF AN
ONGOING CONTINUUM OF VIOLENCE
AND YOU, THE VISITOR, IS INVITED
TO TRAVERSE THIS SPACE THROUGH
EXHIBITIONS AND PROJECTIONS AND
SOUND, IN, IN A WAY THAT IS
INTERESTING AND COMMUNICATES TO
YOU INDIVIDUALLY.

The Interviewer says MM-HMM.
AND THE IDEA OF THE MUSEUM ALSO
WAS TO SORT OF PROVIDE A
CATALYST FOR THE REDEVELOPMENT
OF A RUNDOWN, RUST BELT KIND OF
A CITY AND I WONDER, YOU HAVE TO
OPERATE ON A LEVEL WHERE YOU'RE
DEALING WITH MEMORIES THAT ARE
VERY STRONG, VERY POWERFUL, A
VERY EMOTIONAL KIND OF A STORY,
BUT AT THE SAME TIME, VERY
PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS, LIKE
WE'RE TRYING TO REVITALISE THIS
PART OF A CITY, LIKE WE'RE
TRYING TO REVITALISE OUR
WATERFRONT.

Daniel says ABSOLUTELY,
IT'S ABOUT --

The Interviewer continues
DO YOU, DO YOU THINK ABOUT
THOSE KINDS OF THINGS --

Daniel says WELL, LOOK
AT THE FORM, THE REASON THE
BUILDING HAS THAT FORM, ALSO,
THE FACT THAT IT IS, THE EARTH
SHARD IS LITERALLY SORT OF OVER
THE EARTH, BECAUSE I COULDN'T
HAVE FOUNDATIONS DEEP, BECAUSE
THE LAND HAS BEEN SO POLLUTED BY
METHANE GAS THAT YOU CAN'T
REALLY PUT THE BUILDING INTO THE
GROUND, IT'S UNSAFE, SO, SO HOW
DO YOU DEAL WITH A POLLUTED
TERRITORY, HOW DO YOU CLEAN THE
WATER GRADUALLY OF THE SHIP
CANAL, HOW DO YOU RESTORE LIFE,
HOW DO YOU BRING GARDENS BACK
INTO AN AREA AND HOW DO YOU
BRING PUBLIC HERE?
NOW I THOUGHT THIS IS AN
INTERESTING SITE, BECAUSE NOT
FAR FROM HERE, WITHIN A STONE'S
THROW, IS A PLACE WHERE CONFLICT
TAKES PLACE IN A VERY FRIENDLY
WAY EVERY WEEKEND, WHICH IS THE
MANCHESTER UNITED FOOTBALL
FIELD.
AND I SAID, WOULDN'T IT BE
INTERESTING IF THOSE PEOPLE GO
TO THE FOOTBALL GAMES, YOU KNOW,
THEY CAN COME HERE BEFORE OR
AFTER THE GAME, GET ANOTHER LOOK
AND OF COURSE THE MUSEUM IS NOW
VERY MUCH A GENERATOR OF
SHOPPING CENTRES, NEW HOUSING
BLOCKS, THIS USED TO BE A VERY,
A VERY DANGEROUS AREA OF
MANCHESTER AND, AND IT'S COMING
BACK TO LIFE AND, AND SUDDENLY,
EVEN LIMITED INTERVENTION CAN
CREATE A NEW IDEA OF A CITY.

The Interviewer says
SO IT HAS ACTUALLY TURNED OUT
TO BE A CATALYST.

Daniel says OH,
ABSOLUTELY, BECAUSE ACROSS THE
CANAL IS THE LOWRY CENTRE, WHICH
IS A VERY EXPENSIVE BUILDING
BUILT JUST BEFORE THIS ONE,
THESE TWO BUILDINGS AND THE
BRIDGE IN-BETWEEN THEM UNITING
NOW A NEW TERRITORY WHERE PEOPLE
ARE NO LONGER AFRAID TO WALK,
BRINGING PUBLIC IN THE EVENINGS
TO, TO EVENTS AND BY THE WAY,
IT'S NOT ONLY A MUSEUM, THE
EVENT SPACES IN THE MUSEUM ARE
RENTED ABOUT 360 DAYS A YEAR TO
COMPANIES, TO, YOU KNOW, FOR
ENTERTAINMENT, FOR
CONVERSATIONS, FOR, FOR, FOR
GENERATING INCOME ALSO FOR THE
MUSEUM, SO AGAIN, IT'S --
BUILDINGS ARE NOT ONLY
AESTHETIC, THEY ARE ALSO
ECONOMICAL NECESSITIES AND YOU
CAN SEE HOW MUCH LIFE HAS BEEN
BROUGHT BACK TO THIS AREA BY
LOOKING AT WHAT IS HAPPENING
AROUND IT.

Next, a new picture shows the Royal Ontario Museum. The construction is presented as two huge irregular prisms sticked to a more regular building facade. The design is modern and clean.

The Interviewer says
OKAY, NOW WE'RE INTO THE ROM,
WHICH, OF COURSE, IS THE PROJECT
OF YOURS THAT IS CLOSEST TO OUR
HEARTS HERE IN TORONTO, AND YOU
HAVE A LOT OF TORONTO
CONNECTIONS, I MEAN, YOU'VE
LIVED HERE, NINA IS CANADIAN,
DAUGHTER OF DAVID LEWIS, SISTER
OF STEPHEN LEWIS, ENVOY, SPECIAL
U.N. ENVOY, TELL US ABOUT THAT,
I MEAN, I CAN'T IMAGINE THAT,
THAT YOU HAVE DONE MANY PROJECTS
THAT WEIGH, THAT YOU COME TO
WITH AS MUCH, THAT HAVE AS MUCH
MEANING FOR YOU AS THE ROM DID.

Daniel says ABSOLUTELY.
IT WASN'T, YOU KNOW, AGAIN, AND
I DON'T OFTEN JUST GO FOR A
PROJECT BECAUSE I JUST WANNA DO
A PROJECT IN X OR JUST ANOTHER
PROJECT IN Y, BUT THIS PROJECT
REALLY INTERESTED ME, FIRST OF
ALL, IT'S TORONTO AND I KNOW
THIS MUSEUM VERY WELL, BECAUSE
WHEN, WHEN OUR FIRST SON WAS
BORN, YOU KNOW, EVERY FAMILY
GOES TO THE ROM TO LOOK AT THE
DINOSAURS, TO, YOU KNOW, WITH
THE KIDS SPECIFICALLY.
AND I THOUGHT, THIS IS SUCH AN
INTERESTING CHALLENGE, BECAUSE
IT IS A BLEAK CORNER AND AS
WILLIAM THORSELL SAID VERY WELL,
IT'S KIND OF A FORTRESS.
YOU KNOW, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT'S
BEHIND THOSE WALLS AND EVEN WHEN
YOU PENETRATE THOSE WALLS, VERY
OFTEN YOU LOSE ORIENTATION TO
THE BEAUTIFUL STREETS OF
TORONTO, TO BLOOR STREET AND TO
WHAT'S GOING ON AROUND, SO YES,
THE BUILDING WAS VERY MUCH
SHAPED BY WANTING TO --

The Interviewer says
THE TASK AT THE ROM WAS A)
TO, TO EXPAND THE MUSEUM TO KIND
OF REVIVE THE MUSEUM, BUT ALSO
TO DO SOMETHING FOR THAT CORNER,
WHICH IS A VERY IMPORTANT CORNER
HERE.

Daniel says YES, IT WAS
TO ACTUALLY CREATE A
CONNECTIVITY BETWEEN THE
HISTORICAL FABRIC, WHICH WAS, BY
THE WAY, RUINED BY
INSENSITIVITY, YOU KNOW, RIGHT
AT THE FRONT OF BLOOR STREET, IN
THE OLD WING, WAS A KITCHEN THAT
WAS, YOU KNOW, THE WINDOWS WERE
CLOSED, IT WAS SOME KITCHEN.
I COULDN'T BELIEVE HOW --

The Interviewer says
WELL, THERE WAS DRUXY'S
THERE.

Daniel continues YES,
DRUXY'S, BUT THE MUSEUM WAS
VANDALISED BY, BY VIOLENT
CONCRETE CORES BLOCKING THE
VIEWS THAT WERE SO BEAUTIFUL IN
THE OLD BUILDINGS AND OF COURSE,
THE CRYSTAL IS NOT A STANDALONE
BUILDING, IT'S PART OF
REGENERATING THE GREAT WINGS OF
THE MUSEUM AND CREATING ALSO A
NEW PROGRAM, BECAUSE WE HAVE SIX
NEW GALLERIES OVER BLOOR STREET,
WE HAVE GREAT NEW RETAIL
FRONTAGE, WE HAVE A RESTAURANT
WHICH OVERLOOKS THE LAKE, AND,
AND OF COURSE, ALSO THE BUILDING
IS, IS PART OF, OF A LARGER
WHOLE IN TORONTO, IT'S NOT JUST
ABOUT THE MUSEUM, IT'S ABOUT A
CIVIC SPACE THAT PEOPLE CAN
ENJOY DAY AND NIGHT.

The Interviewer says
NOW WE TALKED ABOUT THE, THE,
THE SHATTERED GLOBE FOR THE
MANCHESTER, FOR THE WAR MUSEUM
IN MANCHESTER, THE SHARDS.
THE BIG IDEA HERE, THE IDEA THAT
INFORMED THIS PROJECT WAS THE
CRYSTAL.

A new slide shows the draft of Daniel’s project for the ROM.

Daniel says OKAY, I
HAVE TO TELL YOU -- LOOK AT THIS
DRAWING.
YOU SEE IT'S ON JAMIE KENNEDY
RESTAURANTS NAPKINS.
AND I WAS IN THE ROM FOR NINA'S
BROTHER'S WEDDING, MICHAEL.
AND I HAD PASSED BY THOSE
CRYSTALS IN THE COLLECTION AND
THERE WAS A COMPETITION.
AND WE'RE -- ARCHITECTS WERE
SUPPOSED TO DO RENDERINGS AND
BIG DRAWINGS, THEY GAVE US BIG
PAPER AND SO ON TO DRAW THE IDEA
OF -- AND I DON'T EVEN WANNA
MAKE THESE COMPUTER-GENERATED
PRESENTATIONS, SO I HAD THIS
IDEA FOR, FOR THE ROM, WHICH I
DREW REALLY VERY RAPIDLY, VERY
INTUITIVELY.

The Interviewer says
I REMEMBER THERE WERE FOUR OF
THEM I THINK.

Daniel continues YES.
NAPKINS AND I SENT IT IN,
BECAUSE IT'S NOT REALLY ABOUT
JUST THE LAVISHNESS OF THE
PRESENTATION, IT'S ABOUT WHAT IS
THE IDEA OF THE SPACE AT THE
CORNER OF BLOOR AND AVENUE ROAD
AND QUEEN'S PARK, WHAT IS IT AND
I THOUGHT, THIS IS REALLY WHAT
IT IS AND OF COURSE ARCHITECTURE
IS A CONNECTION BETWEEN A
SKETCH, WHICH IS VERY INTUITIVE
AND LATER ON I WAS VERY WORRIED
WHEN I WON THE COMPETITION, I
SAID, HOW AM I EVER GONNA MAKE A
BUILDING THAT LOOKS LIKE THIS,
THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE. AND YET, I
WAS VERY LUCKY THAT THE BUILDING
ACTUALLY IS PRETTY --

The Interviewer says
ALMOST EXACTLY THE SAME.

Daniel giggles and continues -- CLOSE TO
THE SKETCH, I DON'T KNOW HOW I
GOT THAT.

The Interviewer says
SO I GUESS THE PROCESS WAS TO
TAKE THE SKETCH AND TURN IT INTO
REALITY --

Daniel says
NO, NO, YOU DO THE SKETCH,
THEN YOU FORGET ABOUT IT.
YOU HAVE TO NOW WORK WITH A
CLIENT, WITH BUDGET, WITH, WITH
EVERYTHING THAT, THAT HAS --

The Interviewer says
BUT YOU WON THAT COMPETITION
ON THE BASIS OF THOSE FOUR
NAPKINS.

Daniel says YES, BUT AT
THE SAME TIME, YOU HAVE TO
DEVELOP -- LOOK, FOSTER WON THE
COMPETITION FOR THE REICHSTAG
WITH A FLAT ROOF AND HE BUILT,
YOU KNOW, A GLASS DOME.

The Interviewer giggles and says YES.
BUT IT LOOKS PRETTY CLOSE TO
ME.

Daniel says YEAH, IT IS
CLOSE, I'M ACTUALLY GRATEFUL
THAT IT CAME CLOSE.

The Interviewer says
ALL RIGHT, LET'S HAVE ANOTHER
SLIDE, OKAY, HERE'S A CRYSTAL.

A picture on screen shows a close up to a crystal.

Daniel explains IT'S A
CRYSTAL WITH A, WITH A KIND OF
PROJECTION OF A DRAWING THROUGH
IT AND, YOU KNOW, CRYSTALS ARE
ETERNALLY WONDERFUL, BECAUSE
EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS CRYSTALS,
YOU KNOW, MOLECULES, D.N.A.,
GENETICS, YOU KNOW, THE
UNIVERSE, YOU KNOW, THERE'S,
THERE'S A MYSTERY IN, IN, IN
THIS KIND OF ARCHITECTURAL
GEOMETRY AND IT'S AN
INSPIRATION.

The Interviewer says
AND ARE THEY, ARE CRYSTALS
TRANSPARENT OR ARE THEY OPAQUE
OR ARE THEY A BIT OF BOTH?

Daniel says THEY'RE
EVERYTHING.
I MEAN, WHO CAN PEER INTO A
CRYSTAL AND CLAIM TO KNOW WHAT
IT IS.
KEPLER, THE GREAT SCIENTIST, I
HAVE IT IN MY BOOK, ONE OF THE
BEST BOOKS I EVER READ WAS
KEPLER'S BOOK ON THE SNOWFLAKE.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT.
IT'S AN ANALYSIS OF THE SIX-
POINTED SNOWFLAKE, THAT EACH
SNOWFLAKE IS ALWAYS DIFFERENT
AND EACH IS A UNIQUE CRYSTAL
THING.

The Interviewer says
WHICH IS A MIND-BOGGLING
THING.

Daniel continues WHICH IS
MIND-BOGGLING -- YOU CAN REALLY
BELIEVE IN GOD.

The Interviewer says NEXT SLIDE.
QUICKLY.
IS THIS WHAT IT'S GONNA LOOK
LIKE?

After the close up to the crystal that served as inspiration for the ROM, the screen features again a new picture of the actual building to compare both the beginning and the end of the projection.

Daniel says VERY CLOSE,
YES, THIS IS A RENDERING, BUT
WE'RE VERY CLOSE TO THIS IMAGE,
ABSOLUTELY.
THE, THE SHARPNESS OF GEOMETRY,
THE PROJECTION OF THE BUILDING
OVER BLOOR STREET, THE LARGE
KIND OF... THAT HAVE THE
DINOSAURS AND, YOU KNOW, SORT OF
LANTERNS, BEACONS WHICH ARE --
AND OF COURSE THE CREATION OF A
PUBLIC SPACE THAT REALLY FOLDS
THE MUSEUM AS PART OF A PLAZA ON
BLOOR STREET, IT'LL BE, I THINK,
A VERY -- I WAS JUST ON THE
CONSTRUCTION SITE TODAY, IT'S --

The Interviewer says IS IT GOING WELL?

Daniel says IT'S GOING
VERY WELL AND IT'S GONNA LOOK --
BE VERY EXCITING, I HAVE TO TELL
YOU.
I JUST SAW THOSE DIAGONAL STEEL
MEMBERS AND --

The Interviewer says
THERE WAS A BIG CONTROVERSY
AT ONE POINT, I GUESS IT WAS
LAST YEAR OR MAYBE THE YEAR
BEFORE, ABOUT HOW MUCH OF THE
CRYSTAL WAS GOING TO BE GLASS
AND HOW MUCH WAS GOING TO BE
OPAQUE AND I THINK THERE WAS A
PERCEPTION AT ONE TIME IN THE
CITY THAT THE WHOLE THING WAS
GONNA BE TRANSPARENT, THAT WE
WOULD BE ABLE TO SEE IN FROM TOP
TO BOTTOM, THE WHOLE THING WOULD
BE GLASS.
BUT THAT WAS NEVER THE CASE, WAS
IT?

Daniel says NO, IT WAS
NOT THE CASE, IT'S THE PROBLEM
OF THE FACT THAT WHEN YOU CREATE
A MODEL, NO MATTER HOW BIG, OR A
VIRTUAL MODEL IN A COMPUTER, YOU
CAN NEVER REALLY SIMULATE
ARCHITECTURE, BECAUSE
ARCHITECTURE DEVELOPS IN ITS
EVOLUTION, IT HAS TO DO WITH THE
CLIENT, IT HAS TO DO WITH THE
CLIENT'S NEEDS AND IT HAS TO DO
WITH INTERPRETATION OF MATERIALS
IN REAL SCALE.
IF YOU CREATE A SHINY MODEL LIKE
THIS, AND THEN BUILD A SHINY
BUILDING, YOU KNOW, LIKE THIS,
IT WOULD BE A FAILURE AND I'VE
ALWAYS DISLIKED ARCHITECTS WHO
HAD THE DRAWING FOR A
COMPETITION AND THE SAME
BUILDING FINALLY BUILT, BECAUSE
IT'S ALWAYS A FAILURE, JUST A
MAGNIFICATION OF A SMALL TO
LARGE.

The Interviewer says
THAT'S A GOOD POINT, BUT YOU
KNOW, THE FUNNY THING THAT
HAPPENS IS THAT A DRAWING GETS
RELEASED, IT GETS REPRINTED IN
THE NEWSPAPER, MAYBE NOT THE
STAR,
BUT WHEREVER, AND
IT BECOMES WHAT THAT BUILDING IS
GOING TO BE.

Daniel says YOU KNOW,
I'VE LEARNED SOMETHING, YOU
KNOW... FAMOUS ARCHITECT RICHARD
ROGERS, THEY DO LITTLE MODELS
LIKE THIS AND, YOU KNOW, THEY
DON'T GIVE YOU REALLY ANYTHING
TOO DETAILED, BECAUSE THEY DON'T
WANT THE PUBLIC TO KNOW.

The Interviewer says
THEY DON'T WANT TO FALL INTO
THAT TRAP.

Daniel continues BUT I
ACTUALLY STUCK TO THE FACT THAT
THIS IS A CRYSTALLINE STRUCTURE,
THE GLASS WAS, OF COURSE, MUCH
MORE LIMITED, BECAUSE IT'S A
MUSEUM, AND WE CAN'T -- IT'S NOT
JUST A QUESTION OF COSTS.

The Interviewer says
BUT I WAS GOING TO ASK YOU, I
MEAN, IF YOU HAD HAD AN
UNLIMITED BUDGET AND YOU COULD
HAVE DONE WHATEVER YOU WANTED, I
MEAN, GIVEN THE LIMITS OF THE
CURATORIAL DEMANDS, YOU KNOW,
SOME THINGS CAN BE SHOWN IN
SUNLIGHT, SOME CAN'T, I MEAN,
WOULD, WOULD THE CRYSTAL HAVE
TURNED OUT DIFFERENT THAN IT'S
GOING TO?

Daniel says NO, BECAUSE
ARCHITECTURE'S NOT A
HYPOTHETICAL UTOPIAN ART.
IT'S NOT SOMETHING YOU
FANTASISE, I WANNA BUILD X OR
IT, IT, IT'S ONLY INTERESTING IF
IT'S UNDER PRESSURE.

The Interviewer says
NO BUT, I GUESS WHAT I'M
GETTING AT IS THAT THE
IMPLICATION IN TORONTO OR THE
INFERENCE IN TORONTO WAS THAT
THERE IS LESS TRANSPARENCY
BECAUSE TRANSPARENCY IS MORE
EXPENSIVE THAN OPACITY.

Daniel says THAT'S
REALLY NOT TRUE, LOOK, IT'S LIKE
SAYING THAT THE GREEK TEMPLE IS
A FAILURE OF A WOODEN BUILDING,
BECAUSE IT'S ALL WOODEN
DETAILING, RIGHT?
THE GREEK TEMPLE IS MARBLE IS A
REPETITION OF A WOODEN TEMPLE.

The Interviewer says UH-HUH.

Daniel continues IT'S ALL
THE DETAILS OUT OF WOOD, WOOD
DRAWINGS.

The Interviewer says UH-HUH.

Daniel continues AND, BUT
THE GREEKS NEVER INTENDED TO
IMITATE A WOOD BUILDING.
THEY CREATED A BUILDING IN
STONE. SO OF
COURSE, THE, THE, THE NECESSITY
OF CREATING A BUILDING AT AN
URBAN SCALE NECESSITATES AN
EVOLUTION OF A BUILDING AND --

The Interviewer says
AND, I MEAN, COMPROMISE IS
SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE TO LIVE
WITH, I MEAN, THAT'S WHAT IT'S
ALL ABOUT IT, ISN'T IT?

Daniel says ABSOLUTELY,
I'M NOT ONE OF THOSE ARCHITECTS
WHO ARE EITHER LUCKY OR UNLUCKY
TO HAVE UNLIMITED BUDGETS AND
POWERFUL CLIENTS AND SAYING,
HERE'S AN ISLAND, BUILD US A
BUILDING, YOU KNOW, DO WHATEVER
YOU WANT.
I THINK IT'S TRUE, ARCHITECTURE
IS, IT IS A FIELD WITH
BOUNDARIES.

The Interviewer says
WOULD THAT EVEN BE A GOOD
THING IF SOMEBODY CAME TO YOU
AND SAID, MISTER LIBESKIND, GO
CRAZY, HERE'S, HERE'S A MILLION
DOLLARS --


Daniel says AS A MATTER
OF FACT, THAT HAPPENED TO ME.
AND IS A, IN A VERY DIFFICULT
PROJECT.
ACTUALLY MY PATRON, ONE OF THE
PATRONS OF, OF THIS, OF THE
CRYSTAL, MICHAEL LEE-CHIN, ASKED
ME TO DESIGN AN ISLAND OFF THE
COAST OF JAMAICA.

The Interviewer says AH!

Daniel continues AND, YOU
KNOW, IT'S, IT'S TO REGENERATE
LIFE IN A PLACE THAT USED TO BE
REALLY FULL OF VITALITY AND NOW
HAS FALLEN INTO SORT OF
PROBLEMS.
AND IT WAS DIFFICULT TO DO THE
PROJECT, BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO --
AND HE SAID, DO WHATEVER YOU
WANT, MISTER LIBESKIND.
I DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT SHOULD
BE.
ONE BUILDING, TEN BUILDINGS, YOU
KNOW, A TEMPLE, HOUSING, A
HOTEL, WHO KNOWS, YOU DECIDE.
AND I SUDDENLY REALISED, IT'S
VERY TOUGH.
BECAUSE A BUILDING PROJECT
CANNOT JUST BE A FANTASY, IT HAS
TO BE UNDER REAL PARAMETERS, SO
WHEN I SPOKE TO, TO THE CLIENT,
THE FIRST WORDS HE SAID, WE ONLY
LIVE ONCE.
THAT WAS THE FIRST WISE WORDS OF
MISTER MICHAEL LEE-CHIN.
THEN HE SAID, YOU KNOW, HOW MUCH
MONEY IS IT GONNA MAKE?
YOU KNOW, HOW, HOW'S IT GONNA
WORK, HOW -- WHO'S GONNA INVEST
IN IT?
WHAT IS IT, WHO'S GONNA PAY FOR
IT?
AND OF COURSE, THAT'S WHEN THE
BOUNDARIES BECOME CLEAR AND YOU
CAN ACTUALLY CREATE A PIECE OF
ARCHITECTURE THAT'S MEANINGFUL.

The Interviewer says
OKAY, HERE'S WHERE WE ARE
TODAY.

A new picture shows a building that’s under construction.

Daniel says OH, YES.
EVEN FARTHER.
TODAY WE CONSTRUCTED AN ENTIRE
PART.

The Interviewer says
RIGHT NOW, I MEAN, THEY'RE
CONSTRUCTING THE STEEL FRAME
THAT'S GONNA HOLD UP THESE FOUR
CRYSTALS, I THINK.

Daniel says YES.
THE STEEL STRUCTURE AND, OF
COURSE, ITS RELATIONSHIP TO THE,
TO THE, TO THE HISTORICAL WINGS
AND YOU SEE THE, THE GREAT CORE
OF STAIRS AND ELEVATORS.
IT'S BEGINNING TO COME OUT OF
THE GROUND AND IT'S, VERY SOON
IT'S GOING TO BE VERY
INTERESTING.

The Interviewer says
WERE YOU, WERE YOU AT ALL
CONSCIOUS OF THE NEED TO DO WHAT
YOU DID AND TRY TO SORT OF KNIT
IT INTO THE EXISTING BUILDINGS
OF THE ROM, OR DID YOU DECIDE
THESE ARE HISTORICAL ARTEFACTS,
I'M NOT GONNA TRY AND, AND DEAL
WITH THAT, I'M GONNA DO
SOMETHING RADICALLY DIFFERENT.

Daniel says NO, I --
THERE IS A CLEAR DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN EVEN THE HISTORICAL
BUILDINGS.
ONE WAS BUILT IN 1910, ONE WAS
BUILT IN 19 -- I MEAN, 1930s,
THEY'RE, THEY'RE DIFFERENT,
THEY'RE ARCHITECTURES, ALSO, AND
I THOUGHT, IT'S GOOD NOT TO JUST
BLEND EVERYTHING INTO BLAND SORT
OF HOMOGENEOUS PALETTE.
THERE SHOULD BE DIFFERENCES, BUT
THEY SHOULD BE REALLY CONNECTED,
AND THE INTRICACY OF CONNECTING
THEM IS THE ART OF ARCHITECTURE.
IF YOU DISCONNECT THINGS, THEN,
THEN THEY FALL APART SO, AND
IT'S NOT JUST A PHYSICAL
CONNECTION, IT'S, IT'S A
CONNECTION, A CULTURAL
CONNECTION, TO WHAT IS SHOWN, TO
THE PROGRAM OF THE MUSEUM, AND
ALSO TO THE PLEASURES OF
TRAVERSING DIFFERENT SPACES.
AND THAT'S REALLY WHAT THE
CRYSTAL WILL BE, TOGETHER --

The Interviewer says
THERE WILL BE PEOPLE, THOUGH,
WHO SAY, OH MY GOODNESS, LOOK
WHAT'S HAPPENED TO MY ROM, LOOK
WHAT'S HAPPENED TO MY MUSEUM --

Daniel says YOU KNOW,
MY FAVOURITE, MY FAVOURITE
COMMENT ON THAT ISSUE WAS, WHICH
I READ, WAS A CONVERSATION
BETWEEN GERTRUDE STEIN, THE
GREAT PATRON OF PABLO PICASSO,
WHEN HE PAINTED THAT FAMOUS
PORTRAIT OF HER, WHICH IS NOW IN
THE METROPOLITAN AND IT'S THE
FIRST KIND OF INCREDIBLE
PORTRAIT OF GERTRUDE STEIN AND
SHE SAID, YOU KNOW, MISTER PICASSO,
THIS LOOKS VERY, VERY NICE, BUT
IT DOESN'T LOOK LIKE ME.
AND HE SAID, DON'T WORRY, IT
WILL.
(The audience laughs)

The Interviewer says
LET'S GET TO THE WORLD TRADE
CENTER, WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF
TIME HERE.

A new slide shows the three-dimensional view from the top of the World Trade Center.

The Interviewer continues
OKAY, THE WORLD TRADE CENTER,
THIS IS GROUND ZERO FROM ABOVE.
I MEAN, THIS IS THE MOST HIGH
PROFILE ARCHITECTURAL PROJECT IN
THE WORLD TODAY, YOU DON'T HAVE
TO BE A NEW YORKER TO BE AWARE
OF WHAT'S GOING ON.
YOU WON THE COMPETITION TO
DESIGN THE MASTER PLAN, YOU WERE
WORKING FOR THE LOWER MANHATTAN
DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION AND THE
PORT AUTHORITY, BUT THE LEASE
WAS OWNED BY LARRY SILVERSTEIN
AND IT SEEMS AT A CERTAIN POINT,
THAT AT A CERTAIN POINT, THE TWO
OF YOU DIDN'T ALWAYS AGREE ON
WHAT WAS GOING ON.
WHERE IS THE WHOLE THING AT NOW?

Daniel says IT'S, YOU
KNOW, DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING
YOU READ IN THE PAPERS.

The Interviewer says I DON'T.

Daniel continues THE STORY
WILL HAVE A GOOD ENDING.
WE ARE ON TRACK, IN FACT, THE
PLAN IS BEING IMPLEMENTED, IT'S
VERY TOUGH.
THERE'S SO MANY COMPLEX
STAKEHOLDERS AND IT'S NOT
BUILDING A FEW BUILDINGS, OR
EVEN A FREEDOM TOWER OR JUST A
MEMORIAL OR CULTURAL BUILDINGS
OR THE STATION, OR, OR THE
DENSITY OF OFFICE BUILDINGS.
IT'S WEAVING A SITE BACK INTO
THE LIFE OF NEW YORK WHICH HAS
TO BE DEDICATED, FIRST OF ALL,
TO THOSE WHO PERISHED ON THAT
SITE, IT'S, IT'S NOT ANY LONGER
JUST ANY PLACE, IT'S, IT'S
UNIQUELY THOSE MEMORIES.
AND AT THE SAME TIME, IT HAS TO
REASSERT THE SITE IN A WAY THAT
IS VERY INSPIRING, BECAUSE AFTER
ALL, NEW YORK WAS ATTACKED
BECAUSE IT IS THE CAPITAL OF
DEMOCRACY, THAT'S WHY IT WAS
HIT, SO THAT'S REALLY THE LARGER
TASK AND OF COURSE, IT'S THE
CREATION OF A NEIGHBOURHOOD.
IT'S NOT JUST SOME BIG TOWERS OR
BIG BUILDINGS OR IT'S JUST
SYMBOLS, IT'S HOW YOU CREATE A
NEW NEIGHBOURHOOD, WHICH, WHICH
DOESN'T REPEAT THE MISTAKES OF
THE FORMER WORLD TRADE CENTER IN
ANY WAY.

The Interviewer says
IS THIS THE PROJECT THAT KIND
OF, WHERE THE TWO SORT OF
OPPOSING FORCES OF CULTURE AND
COMMERCE KIND OF CRASHED AND,
AND, AND YOU, YOUR JOB WAS TO
RESOLVE THOSE TWO FORCES?

Daniel says WELL, I AM IN-BETWEEN.
YOU KNOW, I MEAN, YOU KNOW, IT'S
LIKE A, A, AN OLIVE IN AN OLIVE
PRESS.
YOU KNOW, YOU'RE SQUEEZED FROM
ALL SIDES, YOU KNOW, REALLY, THE
PRESSURE IS IMMENSE, BUT IT'S
NOT BAD TO BE AN OLIVE UNDER
PRESSURE, BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, THE
DREGS GO OUT AND YOU KEEP THE
ESSENCE OF THE, OF THE OIL.
THAT'S, THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS
UNDER PRESSURE.
IF YOU RESIST THE PRESSURE.
IF YOU JUST, YOU KNOW, FAKE OUT
AND, AND YOU DON'T FIGHT FOR
WHAT YOU BELIEVE, YOU JUST
DISAPPEAR WITH THE DREGS.

The Interviewer says
'CAUSE YOU HAD TO DO A LOT OF
FIGHTING.

Daniel giggles and confirms YOU HAVE TO
DO A LOT OF FIGHTING, IT'S NEW YORK.

Next, a new view of the World Trade Center appears on screen.

The Interviewer says THIS IS A, AN OVERALL VIEW,
THE FREEDOM TOWER IS THE TOWER
ON THE LEFT.

Daniel says THAT'S
RIGHT.

The Interviewer says
IT'S GOING TO BE BUILT MORE
OR LESS AS WE SEE IT HERE.

Daniel says YES, THE
CONCEPT OF THE TOWER, THAT
SCHEMATIC DESIGN, THE CONCEPT OF
THE TOWER IS ABSOLUTELY WHAT YOU
SEE HERE, IT'S, IT'S A VERY
UNUSUAL TOWER.

The Interviewer says
BUT YOU KNOW, DANIEL IS
SOUNDING VERY CONCILIATORY RIGHT
NOW, BUT YOU DO MENTION IN YOUR
BOOK, YOUR, YOUR, YOUR
ENCOUNTERS WITH DAVID CHILDS,
WHO IS THE CHAIRMAN OF S.O.M.,
SKIDMORE, OWINGS AND MERRILL, WHO

- WHICH WAS THE FIRM RETAINED
BY LARRY SILVERSTEIN, DAVID
CHILDS, WHO HAS DESIGNED OUR,
CO-DESIGNED OUR AIRPORT, OUR NEW
AIRPORT AND THE AMERICAN EMBASSY
IN OTTAWA, IS A VERY CHARMING,
SMOOTH CHARACTER.
BUT YOU MAKE IT CLEAR IN THE
BOOK THAT YOU TWO DID NOT ALWAYS
AGREE.

Daniel says OH, IT WAS
A FANTASTICALLY DIFFICULT
PROCESS.
I HAVE A CHAPTER IN THE BOOK
CALLED "FORCED MARRIAGE," IT WAS
A FORCED MARRIAGE BECAUSE -- AND
I'M THANKFUL TO THE GOVERNOR,
GOVERNOR PATAKI, WHO INSISTED
THAT THIS NOT FALL JUST INTO THE
HANDS OF DEVELOPERS AND THEIR
ARCHITECTS.
HE INSISTED THAT THIS PLAN KEEP
TO ITS INTEGRITY AND THAT NEW
YORKERS GET WHAT THEY SELECTED
IN THIS COMPETITION.
BUT IT WAS VERY, VERY HARD TO
FIGHT AND, AND TO WORK IN THAT
CIRCUMSTANCE, IT WAS --

The Interviewer says
SO HOW DID YOU WORK IT OUT, I
MEAN --

Daniel says WELL, I
DON'T WANNA GIVE AWAY THE STORY,
BECAUSE IT'S, IT'S IN THE BOOK,
ONE OF THE MOST --
NO, REALLY,
IT'S, IT'S, NO, IT'S EASY ENOUGH
TO SEE A DRAWING, AND SAY, OKAY,
IT'S GONNA BUT BUILT, HOW DO YOU
GET FROM, FROM A VISION TO
REALITY?
HOW DO YOU NEGOTIATE THROUGH THE
LABYRINTH OF BOTH VILLAINS AND
HEROES IN NEW YORK?

The Interviewer says UH-HUH.

Daniel continues AND THE
BOOK IS FULL OF VILLAINS AND
ALSO HAS HEROES AND THAT'S THE
WORLD, THE WORLD HAS ALWAYS BEEN
LIKE THIS AND SOMETIMES YOU
LOSE --

The Interviewer says
EXCEPT IN TORONTO, OF COURSE.

Daniel says TORONTO'S
SUCH A NICE PLACE AND NICE
PEOPLE.

A new picture shows the details on an old wall next to a metallic structure.

The Interviewer says
LET'S HAVE THE NEXT SLIDE.
NOW WE WANT TO SHOW THIS SLIDE
BECAUSE THIS WAS AN IMPORTANT,
THIS IS A SLURRY WALL, THIS IS A
BASICALLY KIND OF A MUD WALL
THAT ACTUALLY KEEPS THE HUDSON
RIVER FROM POURING INTO NEW YORK
AND, AND FLOODING THE WHOLE
THING.
BUT WHEN YOU GOT THERE, I MEAN,
AND YOU WENT DOWN THERE, YOU
TOUCHED IT, YOU FELT IT, YOU
LOOKED AROUND AND THAT'S, THAT,
THAT WAS AN IMPORTANT MOMENT FOR
YOU.

Daniel says THAT, THAT
WAS THE MOMENT, IT WAS THE
TOUCHSTONE OF MY PROJECT, REALLY
I HAD A COMPLETELY OTHER PROJECT
THAT I WAS PURSUING WHILE THE
COMPETITION WAS GOING ON AND
THEN BY, KIND OF BY ACCIDENT, I
ASKED TO BE TAKEN DOWN, TOGETHER
WITH NINA, BY THE PORT
AUTHORITY, CAN WE GO DOWN AND
THEY SAID, WHY DO YOU WANNA GO
DOWN?
IT'S RAINING, IT'S POURING,
ARCHITECTS DON'T, YOU KNOW, YOU
CAN SEE EVERYTHING FROM, FROM,
FROM THE STREETS.
I DON'T KNOW WHAT COMPELLED ME,
BUT WE WENT DOWN AND WHEN YOU
DESCEND TO THE 70-FOOT BEDROCK
OF NEW YORK AND I, I JUST
HAPPENED TO TOUCH IT, I HAD NO
IDEA WHAT IT WAS, WHAT THIS WALL
WAS.
IT HAS A TECHNICAL NAME CALLED
THE SLURRY WALL, WHICH I NEVER
HEARD FROM ANY ENGINEER IN ALL
THE YEARS I'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN
ARCHITECTURE AND SUDDENLY THE
ENGINEER FROM THE PORT AUTHORITY
SAID, YOU KNOW, THIS
IS
THE FOUNDATION AND IF THIS WALL
COLLAPSES, ALL OF NEW YORK WILL
BE FLOODED WITH WATER AND I
SUDDENLY REALISED IT WAS THE
HUGE DAM.
AND IT WAS ALSO INSPIRING, IT
WAS NOT ONLY THE, THE REVELATION
OF... BUT IT WAS ALSO KIND OF
THE RESILIENCE OF NEW YORK IN
FACE OF ADVERSITY.
THE KIND OF ELOQUENCE OF WHAT
ARCHITECTURE AT THIS SCALE, OF
THE BEDROCK CAN DO, AND I WAS, I
IMMEDIATELY, YOU KNOW, GRABBED
NINA'S TELEPHONE, SAID, PLEASE
CALL BERLIN, I'VE GOT A
COMPLETELY NEW IDEA OF THE
PROJECT, AS I PEERED OVER, OVER
THAT WALL AND SAW THOSE LITTLE
FIGURES, PEOPLE, 70 FEET HIGH ON
STREETS AND I SUDDENLY REALISED
THE LIGHT PENETRATING SO DEEP
DOWN, WOULD HAVE TO BE PART OF
THE PROJECT, SO THE PROJECT
WOULD NOT BE JUST ABOUT
BUILDINGS, BUT BE ABOUT COMING
OUT OF THE BEDROCK.

The Interviewer says AND WILL IT, IN THE END?

Daniel confirms and continues YES, IT
WILL.
THE, THE SLURRY WALL, WHICH,
WHICH IS SUCH A VULNERABLE
CONSTRUCTION, AS WE'RE SPEAKING,
THERE ARE ENGINEERS IN THE PORT
AUTHORITY MEASURING, YOU KNOW,
MILLIMETRE DEFLECTIONS OF THIS
WALL, BECAUSE IT'S, IT'S, IT'S
THE LIFE OF THE SITE.
AND YET I WANTED THIS LIVING
FOUNDATION TO BE REVEALED TO THE
PUBLIC AND, AND IT IS GOING TO
BE PART OF THE MEMORIAL.

A new picture shows a picture of the station. The scene portrays people walking around and talking in the streets, trees on a sunny day and the station building that rises from the back.

The Interviewer says THIS IS --

Daniel says THE
STATION.
MY IDEA OF THE STATION, WHICH IS
BEING DONE BY MISTER CALATRAVA, A
VERY GOOD ARCHITECT, VERY MUCH
THE IDEA WHICH WAS IN THE MASTER
PLAN, WHICH IS TO BRING LIGHT,
IT'S A GIGANTIC SKYLIGHT, TO
BRING LIGHT INTO THE DEEP
RECESSES OF THE CONCOURSE LEVELS
DOWN BELOW AND HE DID SOMETHING
EVEN BETTER THAN I HAD HERE,
BECAUSE HE ALIGNED THE STATION
ON THE WEDGE OF LIGHT, ITS
CENTRE, SO THAT AT 10:28 a.m.,
WHEN THE SECOND TOWER COLLAPSED,
ON EVERY SEPTEMBER 11th, THE
CENTRAL AXIS OF THE STATION WILL
OPEN TO THE AIR, LIGHT WILL COME
DOWN JUST AT THAT MOMENT AND IT
WILL BE A MOMENT THAT, IT WILL
BE IN, IN, IN THE SPACE OF, OF
NEW YORK, BECAUSE 9-11 WAS AT A
BEAUTIFUL DAY, IT WAS BLUE SKIES

The Interviewer says YUP, I REMEMBER.

A new picture shows the Statue of Liberty followed by a New York landscape that renders visible the World Trade Center built by Daniel.

Daniel concludes -- AND, AND
I THINK IT'LL BE VERY MOVING,
EVEN FOR PEOPLE WHO MIGHT NOT
HAVE KNOWN ABOUT THAT EVENT AND
THAT LIGHT.

(music plays)

Watch: Architect Daniel Libeskind on Breaking Ground