Breaking Ground: Adventures in Life and Architecture by Daniel Libeskind - review by Stephen Gardiner

Stephen Gardiner

From the Bottom Up

Breaking Ground: Adventures in Life and Architecture


John Murray 294pp £20 order from our bookshop

This is an important and interesting book; important because it gives an insight into how Daniel Libeskind's imagination works and what the sources are that drive it, and interesting because of the originality of his architectural ideas. It is, moreover, far from the kind of autobiography one might expect from an architect – a chronological list of commissions, plans, buildings, and awards. There is nothing conventional here, and plenty that's packed with feeling, in particular the author’s love of family and of the art to which he has devoted his life. At times, it's as though one is in the presence of a polished conjuror doing fascinating tricks with a pack of cards, making incidents in his life, and in the world, appear and disappear, effortlessly managing to evoke the terrors of the Holocaust, the family's travels from Poland to Israel to the United States, and his struggles with committees, most notably those he has had to confront on his latest work, his magnificent winning proposal for Ground Zero in New York City.

Libeskind was born in Lodz in 1946 to Jewish parents, and, while they escaped the monstrous massacre, relations of theirs did not, a fact that underlies much of

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