World-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind lectures at CityU

Zoey Tsang

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The internationally-renowned architect Mr Daniel Libeskind shared his unique insights into the art of architecture with over 400 guests at a Distinguished Lecture on October 20 at City University of Hong Kong (CityU).

Upon the invitation of Professor H K Chang, University President, Mr Libeskind addressed local architects, staff and students from CityU and other tertiary institutes and members of the general public in a talk entitled “Breaking Ground”, based on the title of his memoir Breaking Ground: Adventures in Life and Architecture.

Professor Chang told the packed audience that the Distinguished Lecture timed perfectly with CityU’s 22nd anniversary, which falls on 22 October, adding to the celebrations that follow CityU’s recent rise to 154th in the world university rankings survey conducted by the Times Higher Educational Supplement and in other prestigious surveys as well.

“These rankings affirm the dedication of our staff and the hard work of our students,” Professor Chang said.

He complimented Mr Libeskind on his exciting blueprints for the Creative Media Centre, emphasizing that the design reflected the mission of the School of Creative Media, which is to become a hub for nurturing creative media talents for the region. After completion, the building would symbolize Hong Kong’s position as an industry leader in creative media, Professor Chang said.

Mr Libeskind began his talk by stating how impressed he was by CityU’s energy and the creativity of its students.

“Working on the Creative Media Centre building has given me a chance to see how amazing this University is, not just in the local context but in the world context in which we all work,” Mr Libeskind said, adding that he was “thrilled’ to be involved in CityU’s development.

In his talk, he discussed a number of his favourite works, including the Creative Media Centre, which he designed for CityU. In response to how he will make use of the space in the Centre to cope with the shortage of space in Hong Kong, Mr Libeskind said his design creates functional areas as well as an ambience that inspires creative thinking and knowledge exchange.

Mr Libeskind, who is well known for introducing a new critical discourse into architecture and for his multidisciplinary approach, was born in Poland and spent his youth studying music, first in Israel and then in New York. He later left music to study architecture, obtaining his bachelor’s and postgraduate degrees in architecture in the UK and the US in the early 1970s.

Since then, Mr Libeskind has created a portfolio that includes a diverse range of projects in Asia, Europe and North America. In 2003, he won the competition with his master plan for the new World Trade Centre in New York, and was subsequently appointed as the master plan architect.

The Distinguished Lecture Series brings top academics to the city, encourages exchange of knowledge and introduces interesting ideas and debates. The lectures contribute to the intellectual and cultural ambience on campus and encourage pursuit for knowledge within the local community.

The Creative Media Centre is a nine-storey building composed of five obliquely shaped spaces that conceptually represent all five senses. According to Mr Libeskind, the main concern of the design is how to harness the energy of the people who will use it and to create a vibrant and robust milieu for learning.

The building will be located on the north-western extremity of the CityU campus, Cornwall Street, Kowloon Tong. Scheduled for completion by the end of 2009, it will be the home for the School of Creative Media and house related departments for promoting interdisciplinary collaboration.


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