Contextual Study 1.1: Atmosphere in Architecture (Daniel Libeskind- Jewish Museum Berlin)

‘An international figure in architecture and urban design, Daniel Libeskind is renowned for his ability to evoke cultural memory in buildings. Informed by a deep commitment to music, philosophy, literature, and poetry, Mr. Libeskind aims to create architecture that is resonant, unique and sustainable.’ (https://libeskind.com/people/daniel-libeskind/ accessed on 03.09.2019)

https://libeskind.com/wp-content/uploads/SDL_Jewish-Museum_©HuftonCrow_023.jpg (accessed 03.09.2019)

Elements used to create the atmosphere in this staircase:

  • Straight sharp lines at different angles
  • Smooth white walls and dispersed natural light coming from a long window placed high above.
  • Very tall ceiling and contrasting dark wall across.
  • Massive concrete posts hanging above and sharply angled walls above the lower park of the staircase.
  • Light, openwork metal staircase
  • Sharp and heavy elements in large scale, above a staircase that doesn’t seem so sturdy in comparison
https://libeskind.com/wp-content/uploads/SDL_Jewish-Museum_©HuftonCrow_033rs.jpg (accessed 03.09.2019)

Elements used to create atmosphere in the room above are very tall concrete walls, composed of large scale plates, straight lines and sharp corners. There is light coming from the top of sharp corner and it is contrasting with dark ceiling. Even the door isn’t a usual rectangle, looks heavy and has a massive handle. The whole room seems to be a work of modern art that is intended to create thought. It is a raw design, created by choice of a few materials.

The Void at Jewish Museum – there are 60 staircases that connect exhibitions and they are all opening to the void. Two images below represent the Void from different perspectives.

https://libeskind.com/wp-content/uploads/SDL_Jewish-Museum_©HuftonCrow_046rs.jpg (accessed 03.09.2019)

The most powerful element of design in the image above are rusting iron plates in various sizes, all depicting mainly screaming and some serious faces. I watched youtube videos of this room and the loud metal clanking under visitors steps was magnified by the echo created by smooth tall walls. From my point of view that is sort of sound that could make one feel uneasy. Other elements include tall, smooth, concrete walls and sharp staircase openings.

https://libeskind.com/wp-content/uploads/void-c-bitterbredt.jpg (accessed 03.09.2019)

The image above represent view from the void towards the ceiling in between the staircases. There are sharp angles, concrete walls and ceilings and a lot of straight lines. The material is mostly smooth concrete with the exception of glass window panes in the narrow windows. There is natural light coming from slits near the ceiling. There is a serious atmosphere in this room.

https://libeskind.com/wp-content/uploads/SDL_Jewish-Museum_©HuftonCrow_032-2280×1887.jpg (accessed on 03.09.2019)

The above interior is near the entrance at the start of visitors journeys through the building. It is less ‘threatening’ than previous rooms by use of plain white walls, a lot of light in form of long strips in the ceiling indicating walking directions. All previous rooms had a lot of concrete elements, here I can’t see any. Comparing to the previous rooms which had powerful atmosphere here I cannot sense much. This seems more like a ‘utility’ corridor, a place to direct visitors onward. It may have been designed this way to give visitors something ‘normal’ to then shock them with designs and provoke the mood of seriousness during their visit.

Resources:

https://libeskind.com/ (accessed on 03.09.2019)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akuMmRySmI4 (accessed on 03.09.2019)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHlatz0bCUU (accessed on 03.09.2019)

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