Daniel Libeskind’s architecture intends to create places for encounters, reflection, and discourse. While his architectural philosophy is free of superficial symbolism, it uses a multitude of references and associations. His projects are always optimistic because they seize the opportunity to help shape a better, more democratic future. Inevitably, this is linked to the question of a shared past. 

The designs by Daniel Libeskind, above all the Jewish Museum in Berlin, offer a plethora of possibilities to reflect about where we want to go together and where we come from. A temporal dimension is ever-present in his architecture, and particularly evident in the Leuphana Central Building. Its aesthetics deliberately contrast with the barracks architecture of the Leuphana campus. There is no superficial mediation between that which is past and that which is future oriented. People who animate the place must be the agents of mediation. In this sense, architecture is not only a building, but also a cultural medium for history and historic narrative as much as for inspiration. 

The Language that Libeskind has found for his concepts is the common theme in his architectural designs. Attributing them to deconstructivism is only partly correct, because he does not counterpose his designs to any certain western tradition. His renunciation of right angles is more due to the factual. Since the development of non-Euclidian geometry and the progress of natural sciences in the 20th century, the forms and calculations we encounter in science and day-to-day life have taken on an astonishing variation. We operate with a variety of approximations, variables, vaguenesses, and vectors; change and contingency appear to be natural. This poses a radically new demand on orientation in everyday life as well as in science. In the sphere of Libeskind`s architecture, orientation and disorientation alternate constantly, precisely because this emulates our modern world. 

Anyone who perceives the design of the Leuphana Central Building as a provocation or an alien element, has possibly resigned themselves too much to the given and to what it stands for. Only a place that breaks the mould is able to convey hope, courage, and a notion of new beginnings. To challenge the past and evoke memories, the Leuphana Central Building stands across the axis of the campus, which once comprised a barracks. Thus, viewed from Uelzener Straße, it juts out from the flight of the barracks, bearing witness to what the future holds: realization of the vision of a small town university contributing to an open society. The new Central Building is an essential prerequisite towards a different future. 

“Architecture has to deal with infrastructure and with materials, air-conditioning, and electricity. But ultimately, that’s not what it’s about. It’s a cultural medium. It has to be able to communicate.”


Part-time Professor at Leuphana University (2007 – 2016)