Super famous, super controversial architect Daniel Libeskind, the international designer of jagged buildings and pioneering creator of new forms of self-aggrandizement, recently sat down with Co.Design to talk about NYC's World Trade Complex. Despite the fact that the developers massively scaled back Libeskind's involvement in the complex, and despite the fact that the architect fought against the decision to cut him out of the design, even going so far as to sue for design fees, Libeskind's disposition about the whole scenario is—side eye—very sunny. He even goes so far as to explain the reason for his lack of involvement in the towers themselves (and just the "master plan") with personal humanist philosophies that favor public space rather than megalithic buildings—totally ignoring the fact that he did design the Freedom Tower, it just got scrapped by the developer in 2003. Without further ado, eight great lines from the Libeskind interview:
8. On how the World Trade Center is turning out:
"I feel great, because I feel Ground Zero is very, very close to my original idea."
7. On why he didn't design a major tower (again, he did design a major tower and, in fact, sued over the fact that his plans got trashed):
"That's by the way, why I didn't do a megastructure. Most of my colleagues and great architects design very large buildings. I decided to put the buildings on the periphery and devote most of the site to public space."
6. On "master planning":
"I often say master planning is like writing a composition and being able to conduct it. The person who writes the composition and conducts it, he's not visible. The audience sees the violinist and the tubas and the clarinets and the cellos, and sees maybe only the back of the conductor. And the score--which is the master plan--has to be not only interpreted but arranged for the players to be able to put their own creativity in it. Otherwise, it would just be a mechanical piece of music for a player piano."
5. On how he prepares to design a new project:
"Walk around it quietly. With no one there—none of my associates, no clients—just walk by myself. Then, I think the next step is, I always grab a piece of paper at some point, not necessarily on the site—a sketchbook, an airline ticket, a napkin, whatever is available—and I sketch something that is inspired by that experience. When I come back to the studio, I build a humble little model from cardboard, or something not very sophisticated."
4. On his initial site visit at Berlin's Jewish Museum:
"I was interested in what lay behind the site, below the site, up in the air over the site, in the smokes of the chimneys that went over the clouds. [...] I didn't start the project by immediately drawing the building--not at all-- but drawing the matrix of what happened there. What was it across the abyss that connected us today to that site?"
3. On his dream project:
"I would love to do an airport, because I truly dislike most airports. And I travel so much. They're to me so horrible in general, that I'd love to try to do an airport."
2. On finding inspiration:
"You have to find an inspiration in a blade of grass, in a shadow falling obliquely on a site in an unexpected moment, in the eyes of a passerby, in a flight of birds."
1. On how he's not Ayn Rand:
"I'm not Ayn Rand."
· Freedom Tower Architect Daniel Libeskind: "Ground Zero Is Very, Very Close To My Original Idea" [Co.Design]
· All Daniel Libeskind coverage [Curbed National]