TED Talk: Daniel Libeskind’s 17 words of architectural inspiration

Filmed back in 2009, this TED Talk by Daniel Libeskind has yet to diminish in popularity. Once a free-verse poet, an opera set designer and a virtuoso musician, Libeskind has evolved into an internationally-renowned architect with an illustrious style that has been praised and criticized by many. In just seventeen words, Libeskind describes what inspires his unique approach to architecture. Believing that optimism is what drives architecture forward, he begins by stating, “Architecture is not based on concrete and steel and the elements of the soil. It’s based on wonder.”

Enjoy the talk and continue after the break to review Libeskind’s seventeen words of architectural inspiration.

Libeskind’s seventeen words of architectural inspiration:

  • Optimism vs. Pessimism
  • Expressive vs. Neutral
  • Radical vs. Conservative
  • Emotional vs. Cool
  • Inexplicable vs. Understood
  • Hand vs. Computer
  • Complex vs. Simple
  • Political vs. Evasive
  • Real vs. Stimulated
  • Unexpected vs. Habitual
  • Raw vs. Refined
  • Pointed vs. Blunt
  • Memorable vs. Forgettable
  • Communicative vs. Mute
  • Risky vs. Safe
  • Space vs. Fashion
  • Democratic vs. Authoritarian

It is evident that many will form a variety of opinions about Libeskind’s philosophy; however, it is always interesting to learn about different ideologies and inspirations. Tell us, what inspires you?

Via TED Talks

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "TED Talk: Daniel Libeskind’s 17 words of architectural inspiration" 29 Apr 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=230451>
  • Rasmus

    I completely disagry with him.
    Architecture should not disturbe us, it should instead nourish us.
    To say that building made with respect for its surroundings has no opinoinon or value, is so wrong and a bit ignorant.

  • Rasmus

    Sorry for the misspelling (opinion)

  • bLogHouse

    and he missed the 18-th and most important:
    Libeskind vs Architecture

  • Elias

    I would really like to see him design and plan one of those fancy apartment towers for those people who cannot afford to pay god knows how many thousand dollars per month rent…because that would be architecture, building for the people…so that every human being can afford a decent roof over the head, even those who dont have too much money. libeskind is a true artist, but he is not an architect.

    • Mike Bond

      Totally agree with you. He speaks more like an artist.

      • Karen

        An artist? A BS artist, maybe. Certainly a self-important one with no talent.

      • Mike Bond

        Correct. I had that mind.

      • durp


  • Mike Bond

    Although he makes many good statements, and I sometimes get his point, there’s still something suspicious about his speech. Like, there are to many of these good statements and they are starting to confront each other. For example, he says that every building should be highly individual and expressive, but then, near the end, he declares his belief in compromise. But that was a bit picky from my side. What surprised me more, was then he said that every new building should be giving us a totally new, unknown space experience, yet most oh his own buildings are, in this or that way, the self repetition of the Holocaust Museum in Berlin. And yes! How can he talk about sustainability, when his building style represents the noneffective use of materials? Problem?

  • http://www.koffi-diabate.com issa

    He seems to be stuck in the mid 90′s still… I am having a hard time seeing how his architecture adresses 21rst century chalenges.

    • Rachel

      21st century challenges??? … The only challenge Libeskind is concerned about is how to gratify his own enormous ego.

    • Vagobond

      Libeskind’s leaky, dysfunctional buildings ARE the problems and challenges of the 21st Century.

  • kushi

    his speech annoyes me….his spaces are repetitively banal. Trying to push the boundaries for the sake of…and if you add the inefficiency of his designs and their unsustainable nature -rubbish architecture