Its not often you come across someone who has pretty much crystallized every seemingly disparate thought you’ve ever had into something profound and meaningful. I had that moment last week though when I heard architect Daniel Libeskind present and had the opportunity to interview him.
I think it was Goethe who said “I call architecture frozen music”, and had he been alive today he may have been referring to the work of Studio Libeskind. Polish-born Libeskind was actually a virtuoso musician before he became an architect. He believes both art forms share a great deal in common, being crafted with perceptible and imperceptible human energy, and being partly ethereal.
His studio is responsible for some of the most iconic urban landmarks worldwide, including; the ground zero master plan NYC, the military history museum in Dresden, Jewish museum in Berlin, the Run Run Shaw creative media centre in Hong Kong, and numerous other commercial, residential and cultural buildings.
Libeskind’s presentation covered seven of his projects under segments entitled; Hand, Expressive, Heritage, Sculpture, Dialogue, Diversity and Rebirth. But it was during the group interview that he impressed me the most. Libeskind is an artist, a poet, and a philosopher. And I would have liked to have sat and talked with him for hours.
He touched upon a topic that has been on my mind a lot recently, that the built environment has a great impact on the mental health and well being of it’s occupants. We are living in an age where we are becoming more and more aware and concerned about our health, our food and where it comes from, and its nutritional content. I can only hope that in the future far greater importance will be placed on the impact of our physical surroundings. Where we live, where we work, and how we get around.
When asked about Hong Kong specifically, Libeskind called it a “daring” city, and suggested that its planners and designers needed also be daring. That the city should not just be a portfolio piece for starchitects, but that it needs to be more inventive, and perhaps a take some risks. Hong Kong is no long a city that trades goods, it now trades ideas, so a quantum shift is perhaps needed to get us into a new era, adding that cities that don’t make space for creative people have no future…