Libeskind: Salesman for New Mizner on the Green


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 Controversial starchitech Daniel Libeskind was in town last week as part of a PR push to convince Boca Raton that it needs four building that clash with and would dominate downtown Boca Raton. Boca Magazine has a good write up of his visit. However the real meat is in the Citizen comments that follow the article. A Boca patron of the arts who attended a special meeting with Libeskind at the Boca Raton Museum of Art commented in Boca Magazine: 

“Make no mistake, the cheesy event was a calculated attempt designed to promote an alien aesthetic at the expense of the hard won character achieved over decades. …..As for Daniel Libeskind’s patently insincere presentation (read ‘sales pitch’), and that he would deign to talk down to Boca Raton’s elite as though they were in kindergarten and needed to be taught about architecture, well that was downright insulting. Coming from the architect who was fired from the Freedom Tower and who can’t even secure a commission in his hometown of New York, it was also laughable.” 

An architect’s comment on Boca Magazine: 

“I have always been amazed that people fall for his slick, but wholly disingenuous sales pitch. When you learn to see past the chirpy sound bites (all calculated to appeal to the present audience), and recognize them from prior sales pitches, it doesn’t take much to see him for the shallow, superficial low-brow he is. But of course that is my subjective opinion as an architect with several degrees.” 

Other comments on Boca Magazine: 

“Poor Addison Mizner. He must be turning in his grave at the thought that his name might ever be sullied by association with a sham ‘architect’ like Libeskind. Addison’s architecture was sensitive to the local context, respectful of human scale and dignified, not to mention, beautiful. Libeskind’s architecture speaks to ego, personal stupidity, lack of sensitivity to the surroundings and expresses the kind of vulgarity that has no place in this town.” 

“Daniel Libeskind’s work has rightly been called ‘parasitic’. It relies for it’s effect on a deliberate and discordant contrast with the prevailing sense of place. In lieu of being able to create a refined design that respects adjacent structures and contributes to the visual cohesion and aesthetic harmony he offers a cheap and naively informed ‘novelty’…” 

“When I lived in Toronto I heard Daniel Libeskind talk about his impending addition to our lovely Royal Ontario Museum. We got the same peppy spiel about looking to the future, about being brave forward thinkers, etc.
Anyone who has seen the grotesque building Libeskind actually delivered will be shocked. Not only did he create a contorted clashing mess of misshapen glass and steel. he ruined the original historical building as well. (There’s plenty of pictures of the mess on line.) And then it turned out to be almost impossible to hang art on the sloping walls. (How does an architect overlook something so basic?) The Washington Post called Daniel Libeskind’s design “The Worst Building of the Century” and described it as “ugly AND useless”.” 

Don’t confuse ““weird shape” for “creative design” “ 

“My point is that in the hands of a truly creative architect, a developer’s financial objectives can be met even as he provides an aesthetically compatible design that respects the existing character and aesthetic quality of a town.” 

“Is Daniel Libesknd a smooth salesman? Absolutely! Especially if you are in need of some snake oil. There’s good reason why he’s been called “the Bernie Madoff of Architecture”” 

We checked on the content of the above Citizen comments by going to architectural journals. What we found confirmed what Boca Citizens are saying on Boca Magazine. Our hats are off to the well-informed Citizens who took the time to comment. 

From the Architectural Review: 

“Promising architect in his 40s who went wrong” 

“So Libeskind hit the big time and became a ‘success story’ and an international brand in the global star system. But perhaps he lost his architectural soul in the process, like so many other architects of his generation once trumpeted as being part of the supposedly ‘critical avant-garde’” 


From the Architectural Journal: 

“Libeskind’s pretentious glass wedges” 

“Don’t be fooled by that supercilious grin Libeskind dons for the cameras. It’s always been about his ego.Not least, Libeskind’s forms (in addition to being banal one-liners), are inherently hostile, brutal and aggressive.” 

“Libeskind was kicked off the World Trade Center projects after his shallow and superficial ideas were found to be offensive to many people. And it is with good reason that over a decade later he has yet to get a single commission in his home town of New York where he is widely known to be a charlatan and buffoon.” 

“Yet another formulaic Crystal from Libeskind. It would be nice if he bothered to think about his projects for even one or two minutes before he scribbled the usual drivel that informs all of his feeble work.” 

“The character of an existing building or neighborhood will be diminished as the “solution” will be brutal, insensitive and contextually inappropriate. Libeskind will fabricate some childish rhetoric linking the stock solution to the specific problem.” 


Miami Cubed COMMENT OF THE DAY, October 21, “Fact Check Alert!!! 1. Except for the ugliness, it will not be “unlike most of Libeskind’s other work”. It’s a re-hash / recycled version of his ugly Keppel Bay project. 2. You forgot to mention that it will incorporate Libeskind’s trademark ‘ugly as shit gfactor’.”—AntiChrist [Mama Mizner! Starchitect Daniel Libeskind Condos Coming to Boca Raton] 



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