Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Points of View on ¨Villa Libeskind¨

The article by Tony Illia, "Villa Libeskind" Takes Prefab to the Extreme, for Architectural Record (March 16th, 2010) has arisen many critics. Not to the article, but to Libeskind design. For my part, I agree that a house is not a museum, and a museum is not a cultural center, and a cultural center is not a church, and so on. Then, these shapes, though in panels be difficult to transport, it is not by chance that modular buildings have to be built in standard modules. And beyond this, domestic shapes would respond to the social/cultural group that conforms the target. I don´t agree with with weird  shapes stamped everywhere, like the architect´s seal. Take into account, Libeskind is making a reference to a ¨sculpture¨. And, please understand I don´t mean to say I don´t like this house. But not as a standard house that could be repeated, specially under this price. 
Let us see some paragraphs of the article, and then, some critics from the readers:

¨Daniel Libeskind has added a rather unusual building type to his design resume: high-end, green prefab housing. The New York-based architect has teamed up with the German builder Proportion to produce a limited-edition series of 5,500-square-foot dwellings dubbed “Villa Libeskind.” A prototype was unveiled last October in Datteln, Germany, on the campus of Rheinzink, the zinc panel manufacturer.
“This is the first small intimate house that I have designed for an individual or a family, which really reaches into the depths of a new experience of living and architecture,” says Libeskind, who calls the residence a “walk-in sculpture.” 
Sheathed in pre-weathered zinc panels (in blue-gray or graphite-gray) affixed to a structural wood frame, the two-level, four-bedroom residence features Libeskind’s trademark sharp angles and asymmetry. It also includes all of the amenities befitting a luxury home: a fireplace, fitness room, wine cellar, and sauna. For the interior design, buyers have a choice between the “Casual style,” described as warm and natural, or the “Libeskind style,” characterized as cool and sculptural. Libeskind designed both options. 
Proportion aims to construct 30 Villa Libeskinds around the globe, although no city will have more than one. Sales are launching in Europe, followed later by the United States. Each house is expected to cost between $2 to $3.5 million.
Libeskind’s wife, Nina, chief operating officer of Studio Daniel Libeskind, notes that this is not your standard prefabricated home, noting that “Daniel wanted to show that you could do something with the notion of a prefab that was still architecturally ambitious and distinctive, while using the latest technologies.”
According to the developer, the house’s components will be made in Germany and then shipped to the building site, where construction takes four to five months. Sustainability is central to the design: the house contains a geothermal heat-pump system, under-floor heating, a rainwater collection system, and photovoltaic cells integrated into the zinc cladding, among other green features. The villa is projected to use less than 40 kilowatt-hours of thermal energy per square meter each year...........¨

Some Anonymous Comments:
I'm wlling to bet Libeskind would use the exact same pointed shapes for an armchair. What an over-rated moron.
Sophmoric. Amateurish. Clumsy. Brutal. Garish. Aggressive. Arrogant. Hostile. Awkward. - No thanks.
So this house could end up facing north in a valley near Spokane, or facing east on a slope near Palermo, or facing west in Sydney, and still be environmentaly responsible? I guess that a genius like Daniel Libeskind anticipated all these conditions and devised a solution that responds to any and all orientations and sun angles. And somehow he overcame the cardinal rule that "materials should come from within a hundred mile radius" in order to cut down on the carbon footprint associated with transportation.
Libeskind's lack of residential scale experience is obvious. The spaces look clumsy and awkward, especially with the furniture. It's like he took drawings for an unbuilt museum and tried to shrink it to suit a house.
“Who do I build for? I think every building is addressed to someone who is not here. Every building that is good is not addressed to the public, that they walk around and find themselves to be comfortable. It is addressed to those who are unborn, in both senses: of the past and in the future. I think that is who they address and that is what makes them important. To that extent, every human being is really unborn.” - Quote from Daniel Libeskind. Aaah ... now this building makes sense. It is for the unborn. Brilliant!
Alonside Duany's noble effort, Libeskind's project just looks like the latest piece of ego-tripping megalomaniacal stupidity ever to piggyback on words like "prefab" or "sustainable". Libeskind is so far out of touch he's beyond ridiculous.
Residence? It looks more like a prototype for a Waffle Hut franchise restaurant. Definitely roadside architecture.

Read the full story:
All pictures are from the article´s gallery.


  1. Libeskind is no longer interested in architecture or design. He's just interested in making as much money as he can before people realize what a fool he really is. Basically he has sold out and is just selling his name to stick on any piece of badly-designed garbage that his office designs.

  2. Hi TJ, thank you for your comment. I´m surprised, because you know Libeskind´s effort to show interest for the Jewish community, his work was based in history, metaphors, and now this. I don´t think every architect should be thinking about Haiti, but in the middle of such an economy and disasters at least he must have designed another house, affordable for many people.
    Best regards,



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