Libeskind, Daniel

Daniel Libeskind is the architect who designed the Jewish Museum Berlin. One part of the museum is housed in the historical Kollegienhaus, an eighteenth-century structure that long served as a court and in 1960 became the home of the Berlin Museum. The other part consists of the gray zigzag building next door, which Libeskind designed in 1989. This new building was opened to visitors in 1999, initially without an exhibition.

Daniel Libeskind was born on May 12, 1946, in Lodz, Poland. In 1957 his family immigrated to Israel and in 1960 to the United States. After studying music in Israel and New York, Libeskind devoted himself to architecture.

Although many of Libeskind’s architectural designs won competitions, the Jewish Museum Berlin was his first project to be built. Libeskind has also staged operas.

Since then many of Libeskind’s other museum designs have been built as well: a museum in Osnabrück dedicated to the painter Felix Nussbaum, the extension to the Denver Art Museum in Denver, Colorado, and the Imperial War Museum in Manchester, Great Britain. Furthermore, in 2003 Daniel Libeskind won the competition for the reconstruction of Ground Zero in New York City.

Libeskind has taught at many universities around the world (e.g. in Berlin, Graz, Karlsruhe, London, Lüneburg, St. Gallen, Yale and Zurich). He has had a profound influence on views of the function of architecture and has won numerous awards for his work. He currently makes his home in New York.

You can view a multimedia story about Daniel Libeskind in the Learning Center of the Jewish Museum Berlin. In addition, if you are interested in the ideas that led Daniel Libeskind to develop the architecture of the Jewish Museum Berlin and how these ideas find expression in the zigzag structure, you will find in-depth information in the “Museum on Site” section of our website.

A Daniel Libeskind look-a-like puppet
Daniel Libeskind as a puppet on the »Helmi« puppet stage
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Sönke Tollkühn