I’m getting a bit hung up with language – with loss of meaning from misuse and overuse, and with heightened meaning from words newly cast. Imagine how thrilled I was to hear Daniel Libeskind’s talk this afternoon. For him, architecture is based on wonder. He spelt this out with a series of distinctions that powerfully described his architecture – words that were supported with images of some of his iconic designs.

The pairs of words are not necessarily direct opposites, and the meaning he ascribes to them is not necessarily what you might assume. My personal highlights are:

  • expressive vs neutral
  • emotional vs cool
  • political vs evasive (political meaning of the people, un-abstract)
  • raw vs refined
  • pointed vs blunt (many of his buildings are literally pointed, but he means it metaphorically as well – focused on reality)
  • communicative vs mute
  • risky vs safe

His words and his buildings reek of energy and attitude. A delight.

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