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Breaking Ground: An Immigrant's Journey from Poland to Ground Zero

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  142 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
More than a memoir. An autobiography of architecture, culture, and people.
One of the most influential architects of our time recounts an extraordinary life-from his childhood in post-war Poland as the son of Holocaust survivors to his controversial and dramatic recounting of the designing of the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center.
ebook, 304 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Riverhead Books (first published 2004)
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Theresa Lynch
Aug 31, 2011 Theresa Lynch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In another life, I would love to be an architect. Daniel Libeskind is poetic in his love for what great architecture can achieve.
Aug 12, 2011 Courtney rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this one up at my favorite used book store in Alexandira. I'm really looking forward to reading it. I think Libeskind is a genius, when it comes to modern architecture. The Jewish Museum is one of the most fascinating structures I've had the pleasure to visit.

UPDATE: Okay, so I am nerdy enough to have a favorite contemporary architect. But I am NOT crazy enough to be captivated by every teeny little encounter or process that lead to some of L's projects. I was really hoping that Breaking
Apr 16, 2014 Kristi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a book for architects. This book is for the rest of us. Mercifully, Libeskind avoids occupational jargon and leads us into a world of intense project planning, something we all at one time or another can relate to. Liebskind's project, of course, is on a much grander scale than those of us ordinary folk. His passion for his native and adopted countries, his family, and his chosen occupation shines through in his writing.
Dan Pfeiffer
Dec 10, 2014 Dan Pfeiffer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book very much. Mr. Libeskind is a thoughtful, down to Earth creator in a field rife with bombastic pretensions and slavish post-modern design sensibilities. His battle to build the Freedom Tower based on his original design is an example of what can happen when architecture becomes slave to the ego and vacuous commercial interests. I especially found his upbringing interesting and hid detailing of his parents escape from Nazi Germany only to find themselves confined to Soviet wor ...more
Nov 11, 2007 Srikanth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: architecture students
Shelves: design
Gave me a totally different perspective of Lebiskind from what I had known about him in architecture school at University of Michigan. Between reading structures textbooks and design studios, we rarely have time to pick up a solid book of confessions and revelations that is Lebiskind's life. Granted, this is a sort of autobiography, so there is a bias, especially when he is talking about the WTC competition, but I found the parts when he is talking about his mother, or his family to be the most ...more
Jan 08, 2014 Colette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having been to two of Libeskind's structures,I was excited to read his memoir. Breaking Ground did not disappoint. Where other architects, let's face it - people in general, define themselves by the past or what they do not want to be, Libenskind allows the story, the land, the building usage to guide his designs. He states several times that true pioneers are not loud and obnoxious. They accept challenges and persevere. His deep love for his family, not just his wife, but his parents who fled f ...more
Jul 12, 2007 mahatma rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
ini buku amerika banget: memuji-muji individu hebat yang dari lingkungan tersingkir karena perang dunia kedua, lalu melejit jadi arsitek kelas dunia: daniel liebeskind.
saya suka rancangan dia, tapi buku ini [dan juga banyak buku sejenis] telah membelokkan ulasan tentang karya arsitektur ke arah ulasan tentang arsiteknya sendiri. seolah produksi arsitektur itu di bawah kendali sang arsitek sepenuhnya.
historiografi yang individualistik ini khas amerika. kita butuh historiografi lain, yang lebih co
A timely book (meaning just in time to beef up his case during the messy SOM Freedom Tower situation), Libeskind gives full account of his life (was a decent accordionist, becoming the first person shown live on Polish television when he was but a small child) and career with an enormous gap between quitting Meier's office (and shunting Eisenman during the notorious broom incident) and winning the Berlin Holocaust Museum a dozen or so years later. Otherwise, like Charles Luckman before him, his ...more
Apr 15, 2009 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just started this last night and am loving it...he talks about great buildings telling the story of the human soul. I love that. He started out as a child musical prodigy... and at age 11 won a prestigious scholarship from the American-Israel Culture Foundation which Itzhak Perlman, as a child, also won that year... but Libeskind was playing the ACCORDION! He took it as far as he could and then switched to drawing!
Will V.
Feb 16, 2010 Will V. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Libeskind is actually a very eloquent writer. I like how he interweaves his family's experience with his architectural touch, and it was interesting to see some of the behind-the-scenes political machinations that go into creating a large building.
My favourite architect. The Jewish museum in Berlin is absolutely breathtaking. If you ever get the chance to visit do not miss the opportunity.

An interesting read about his many varied inspirations and also the unexpected (for me) politics encountered with designing and realising new buildings.
Kris Siegel
The child of holocaust survivors, Daniel Libeskind is the architect responsible for the design of the Ground Zero Memorial and buildings.
Jan 22, 2008 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since he was my boss for a year I thought I would learn how the man ticks. A good book, light and fast reading, with some juicey architecture gossip.
Jane Hildreth
May 01, 2014 Jane Hildreth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is reading about genius and egos at its best, if that is possible. Excellent insight into creativity and hutzpar!
Sep 25, 2008 Benita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book by the Architect first voted to design the new buildings at the World Trade Center site, and who did design the new Art Museum in Denver.
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Daniel Libeskind is an internationally renowned architect, known for the Jewish Museum in Berlin, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, and the Dublin Performing Arts Center in Dublin, Ireland. His practice is designing commercial, residential, and cultural buildings around the world. His Master Plan for rebuilding the World Trade Center site in New York City was selected in 2003 and has served as ...more
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