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Libeskind (Daniel) Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Separated Material
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Bibliography

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Daniel Libeskind papers
    Date (inclusive): 1968-1992
    Number: 920061
    Creator/Collector: Libeskind, Daniel
    Physical Description: 60 Linear Feet (52 boxes, 168 rolls, 27 oversize folders, 12 models, 1 folio)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles 90049-1688
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: The Libeskind archive contains 15 design projects (1970-1991), materials related to Libeskind's teaching at the Cranbrook Academy of Art (1980-1984), manuscripts and publications (1970-1990) and photographs, slides and transparencies (ca. 1968-1990). The Jewish Museum in Berlin (also called Between the Lines in this archive) is the most extensively documented of his designs.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in English and German.

    Biographical/Historical Note

    The architect Daniel Libeskind was born in Lodz, Poland in 1946 and emigrated with his family to Israel. He studied music at the Lodz Conservatory. In 1960, after winning the America - Israel Cultural Foundation Fellowship, he moved to New York to continue his studies in music. While in the United States, however, he changed direction and enrolled in architecture at Cooper Union, studying with John Hejduk and Peter Eisenman. In 1970 he was graduated summa cum laude with a B. Arch. degree. He subsequently earned his Master's degree in History and Theory of Architecture at the School of Comparative Studies at Essex University, England, in 1972 with his thesis Imagination and Space.
    In the late 1980s Libeskind founded the studio Architecture Intermundium, Milan, Italy (Founder and Director, 1986-1989), in order to challenge the trend toward what he viewed as the corruption and commodification of architecture. Libeskind's projects reflect his readings in philosophy, his study of music, and, in his best known project, his connection to the Jewish diaspora and the Holocaust.
    Libeskind's design for the Jewish Museum Extension to the Berlin Museum (Jüdisches Museum im Berlin Museum), triggered international controversy and earned Libeskind considerable acclaim from architects and architectural critics worldwide. After winning the competition in 1989, it took ten years to build the Jewish Museum Extension (which he titled Between the Lines). The project successfully endured opposition from Mayor Eberhard Diepgen and many of the citizens of Berlin, and weathered the fall of the Berlin Wall. Libeskind and his wife, Nina, launched a letter writing campaign that lobbied members of the Berlin Senate and the Mayor himself. The cornerstone for the Jewish Museum Extension finally was laid on 9 November 1992 and the building completed in January 1999.
    Since the Jewish Museum Extension competition, Libeskind has won numerous international architectural awards and competitions as well as commissions for other museums. In 1988 the Museum of Modern Art, New York, included Libeskind (along with architects Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Bernard Schumi, and the team Coop Himmelblau) in the exhibition "Deconstructivist Architecture" curated by Philip Johnson and Mark Wigley.
    Libeskind has taught and lectured in Australia, Europe, Japan, South America, and United States. The bulk of the teaching materials in this collection is related to his tenure as Head of the Department of Architecture at Cranbrook Academy of Art. His academic appointments also include Visiting Professor at Harvard University, the Louis Sullivan Professorship at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Bannister Fletcher Professorship at the University of London, the Davenport Chair at Yale University, and the Lee Chair at University of California, Los Angeles.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Daniel Libeskind papers, 1968-1992, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 920061.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired from Daniel Libeskind in June 1992.

    Separated Material

    The following books were transferred to the repository's research library, general collection.
    Chamberworks: Architectural Meditations on Themes from Heraclitus. May 1999. Between Zero and Infinity: Selected Projects in Architecture , Sep 1999.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Daniel Libeskind papers, 1968-1992 (ca. 60 lin. ft. in 52 boxes, 168 rolls, 27 oversize folders, 12 models, 1 folio) are comprised primarily of materials - drawings, notebooks, sketches, models, correspondence, press clippings, videotapes, transparencies - documenting the Jewish Museum Extension to the Berlin Museum, 1988-1992, which in this archive is titled Between the Lines.
    The collection also contains 14 other design projects (1970-1991), materials related to his teaching at the Cranbrook Academy of Art (1980-1984), some manuscripts and publications (1970-1990), and photographs, slides and transparencies (ca. 1968-1990).
    The significance of this collection lies in the inclusion of representative pieces from Libeskind's earlier projects as well as the nearly exhaustive documentation of Between the Lines, the Jewish Museum Extension, up to 1992. Not only are original architectural drawings, sketches, notebooks, and models included, but the collection holds the many revisions and alterations made from those original drawings; what appear to be merely photocopies of original drawings often have subtle modifications indicated on them. One can see the manner in which Libeskind draws from his earlier works for inspiration. The design materials are further informed by the flurry of correspondence which documents the delays and crises that threatened to halt the construction of the museum in the early 1990s.
    While the City Edge and Marking the City Boundaries projects are fairly well documented, many of his earlier projects are represented with only a few items. The archive contains several boxes and binders of images of Libeskind's Cranbrook students' designs.
    Other items in the archive include copies of his Cooper Union Thesis, Collage, 1970; the set of Venice Biennale competition books, 1985; Gedenkbuch Berlin 6 000 000, a Berlin Museum commemorative book; a musical score (roll 18**); and a videotape (box 52, f.2) featuring architectural critic Charles Jencks, mayor of Berlin Eberhard Diepgen, and Berlin Museum Director Rolf Bothe.
    This collection does not include work after Between the Lines, 1992.
    The papers are arranged chronologically by project date. Items within each project have been further organized by date.

    Arrangement note

    The papers are organized in 6 series: Series I. Design projects: drawings, notebooks and models, 1979-1992; Series II. Lectures, manuscripts, publications and student work, 1970-1990; Series III. Correspondence, 1983-1992; Series IV. Press clippings, 1990-1992; Series V. Transparencies, ca. 1968-1990; Series VI. Videotapes, 1980-1991

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Libeskind, Daniel

    Subjects - Corporate Bodies

    Jüdisches Museum im Berlin Museum

    Subjects - Topics

    Museum architecture -- Germany -- Berlin
    Jewish museums -- Germany -- Berlin
    Architecture, Postmodern
    Architecture, Modern -- 20th century

    Subjects - Places

    Berlin (Germany) -- Buildings, structures, etc.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Blueprints (reprographic copies)
    Architectural models
    Architectural drawings (visual works)


    Libeskind, Daniel


    The following materials were consulted while cataloging this archive:Betsky, Aaron. "Libeskind Builds - Once the dean of paper architecture, Daniel Libeskind has completed his first buildings. Do they live up to the power of his provocative thinking?" Architecture : the AIA journal, September 1998, p. 103+. Binet, Hélène. A Passage Through Silence and Light: Daniel Libeskind's Jewish Museum Extension to the Berlin Museum . Introduction by Raoul Bunschoten. London: Black Dog Publishing Ltd., 1997. Derrida, Jacques. "Response to Daniel Libeskind." Research in Phenomenology , vol. 22, 1992. Levene, Richard and Márquez Cabanes, Fernando. "Daniel Libeskind, 1987-1996." El Croquis, vol 80, 1996. Libeskind, Daniel. "Berlin Museum with the Jewish Museum." Kenchiku bunka volume 53, no. 621, July 1998, p. 58-83. Libeskind, Daniel. Between Zero and Infinity: Selected Projects in Architecture . New York: Rizzoli Intl. Pub., 1981. Libeskind, Daniel. Chamberworks: Architectural Meditations on Themes from Heraclitus . London: Architectural Association, 1983. Libeskind, Daniel. City Without Plan: Architecture Descends into the Hexagonal Garden . Lisboa: Editorial Blau, 1992. Libeskind, Daniel. Countersign. New York: Rizzoli International Pub., 1992. Libeskind, Daniel. End Space: An Exhibition at the Architectural Association. London: Architectural Association, 1980. Libeskind, Daniel. Erweiterung des Berlin Museums mit Abteilung Jüdisches Museum; Extension to the Berlin Museum with Jewish Museum Department . Berlin: Ernst & Sohn, 1992. Libeskind, Daniel. Line of Fire. Genève: Centre d'art contemporain, 1988. Libeskind, Daniel. Micromegas. Helsinki: Museum of Finnish Architecture, 1980. Libeskind, Daniel. Radix-Matrix: Architekturen und Schriften. Munich: Prestel-Verlag, 1997. Libeskind, Daniel. Symbol and Interpretation.