At Cityzen, one of our crowning achievements has been working with some of the top architects in the world. Starting with Yansong Ma and MAD Architects, we started a journey to build one of the most recognizable buildings in Canada. After our great experience with Ma, we wanted to keep the legacy going so we tapped one of the world’s most interesting (and famous) architects to work on our landmark building in the heart of downtown Toronto.
Daniel Libeskind has built a career on his signature style, what he likes to call his language, and a penchant for taking things outside of the 90 degree box. He was in town this week as one of the keynote speakers at IIDEX and we had a chance to hear him speak about his early career and how he feels about working in Toronto.
Daniel’s career started in a very unconventional way. He decided to kick off his future in architecture by entering a contest to design and build the Jewish Museum of Berlin. This was when Daniel was already in his 40s and had yet to build a single building. His design won the competition, but carrying out his vision was delayed by the fall of the Berlin wall. Libeskind was eventually able to bring his vision of the museum to life, but once that project began he had already created and built many others.
In Daniel’s opening statement, he made it clear how much he loves our city. His wife Nina is a Toronto-native and he has lived here on many occasions. When he was asked about his Toronto projects, the ROM and the L Tower, he said that the projects wouldn’t be possible without great clients - a great shout-out to Cityzen’s president Sam Crignano and the whole team. The future of Toronto was on the minds of many people in the audience at IIDEX. Moderator Catherine Osborne of Azure Magazine addressed our curiosity and asked Daniel about what he sees in Toronto’s future. He said the following.
“Toronto has incredible people, a diverse population, an incredible energy, and it’s not yet reflected in the city - but it will be. I’m sure of it and I’m sure that Toronto is poised to be completely transformed. I don’t think it’s going to be Toronto the good, Toronto the waspy, Toronto the boring, or Toronto the English. I think Toronto is going to suddenly change, I don’t know when, but I don’t think it will be gradual. Change is a sudden thing, like when you look in the mirror and say “Oh my God! I’m not 10 years old anymore.” And that’s Toronto. I predict that Toronto will change in a radically good way which means that the architecture will become more interesting, it will become more aspirational, and will become more heterogeneous, taking in the cultures of the city. So yes, I predict a great future for the city.”
We’re definitely glad to hear that!