World-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind is having a big year. Early in 2017, he was shortlisted to design the UK National Holocaust Memorial. The son of Polish Jews and Holocaust survivors, Libeskind is no stranger to commemorative architecture: he was launched into international fame with his addition to the Jewish Museum Berlin in 2001, epitomized the Deconstructivist style with his design of the U.K.’s Imperial War Museum North, and won the competition to develop a master plan for New York’s One World Trade Center.
Then, the announcement this week that Studio Libeskind has won competitions for two new mixed-use projects in France. Most notably, Libeskind is set to design the first-ever skyscraper in the historic city of Toulouse. The 500-foot skyscraper, which will be dubbed the Occitanie Tower (so named for the region in France where Toulouse is located), is expected to be completed by 2020. Libeskind will also be a key player in an urban rejuvenation project in Nice, as he set to design a mixed-use commercial center connected to Thiers Station.
But when he isn’t redefining skylines across the globe and winning prestigious design commissions, Libeskind is applying his time and talents to help college students learn to live and work sustainably. Earlier this month, Libeskind revealed an £11.5-million center for cosmology and astronomy at Durham University in the UK. The Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics – a larch-clad, spiraling building conceived as a series of stacked and intersecting blocks – was designed with a laser-focus on sustainability, set to achieve net-zero energy consumption. He also collaborated with students at Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany to design a new zero-emissions building on campus. The 13,000-square-meter zinc-clad New Central Building is a carbon-neutral facility powered by renewable energy.
No doubt one of our greatest living architects, we wanted to spend some time this week getting to know the man behind the “starchitect.” Check out his Proust Questionnaire, and then take a listen to his 2009 TED Talk.