Salon InMitte


The architect on his relationship to Berlin and Poland, recent experiences and current projects

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From left to right: Dr. Jerzy Margański [Ambassador of the Republic of Poland], Mania Feilcke-Dierck [President of the Ambassadors Club e. V.], Daniel Libeskind, Nikolaus Ziegert at the Adlon

When Daniel Libeskind speaks about architecture, the focus is never on technology or particular style elements, but always on the big picture, the relationship of the arts and the people to the buildings in their city. The vast wealth of life experience of a Polish Jew who grew up in Israel, studied in America, completed his first major project in Berlin and today works all over the world comes through – and the effect on listeners is palpable.

And it was no different in the Adlon Hotel on Tuesday, April 28th, 2015, when the guest of the Polish embassy and ZIEGERT talked about his relationship to Berlin and Poland, recent experiences and current projects. One example was an apartment project in Wuhan, China. While viewing the construction site, he astonished a Chinese investor by asking where the workers he saw cleaning the streets in the area lived – and shortly thereafter received a commission to build affordable housing for poor workers as part of the project.

Daniel Libeskind in the ballroom at the Adlon
Daniel Libeskind signing the SAPPHIRE coffee table book

Libeskind is no fan of immutable rules in any case. Historical reconstruction, for example, is neither good nor bad per se. It always depends on the circumstances. In Warsaw after the Second World War, rebuilding the Old Town was an important statement: “We're still here!” The reconstruction of the Hohenzollerns' City Palace in Berlin, by contrast, he considers an abomination. When asked whether there was a lack of objectives and uniform planning in the urban planning context, he replied by shaking his head. In architecture, he said, it was generally wrong to rely on strong leadership and specifications from above. And yet: With his latest project, Daniel Libeskind is demonstrating that he can absolutely adhere to regulations. SAPPHIRE has remained almost completely within the building regulations of Berlin's Chausseestraße and yet offers magnificent design spaces below the stipulated eaves height.