Dezeen Magazine

Libeskind rails at architects who build gleaming towers for despots

Libeskind rails at architects who build "gleaming towers for despots"

News: Daniel Libeskind has spoken out against architects who create "morally questionable" buildings in undemocratic countries, calling on them to consider whether their projects are "legitimate".

"Architects have to take responsibility for their work," the Polish-born architect told The Architect's Journal last week, saying morals should always play a role when selecting new projects around the world.

"Even if they produce gleaming towers, if they are morally questionable, I'm not interested," said Libeskind, who is known for taking on culturally sensitive projects such as the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the under-construction masterplan for the World Trade Center site in New York.

"I'm not interested in building gleaming streets for despots; I prefer making work in the challenges and constraints of a democracy than working in a homogenous system," he added.

"I can't separate the formal geometry from the context of who they were commissioned by and the morality of those states."

Libeskind is also set to unveil plans for a "conflict transformation centre" on the site of the notorious Maze prison in Belfast, where the UK government held Irish republican prisoners during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. "It has such a meaningful, difficult history," he told the magazine.

"For me the project is about building the peace and about reconciliation," he said. "Architecture doesn't work alone, but should be part of the process of going towards a better place."

Last year Libeskind completed an education centre for the Jewish Museum in Berlin as an extension to his earlier project, which opened 12 years previously - see more architecture by Daniel Libeskind.

In 2012 he also designed two projects in the South Korean capital of Seoul – a cluster of three curved towers inspired by a Buddhist dance and a skyscraper with a pointy midriff, both in the Yongsan International Business District that he masterplanned.