Sign of the Times: Daniel Libeskind

During this kaleidoscopic evening with theatre and debate, De Balie and International Theater Amsterdam explore the social themes of today. Tonight, we talk with the world-famous architect Daniel Libeskind about the relationship between architecture and social anger. How do you express anger and sadness through architecture?

Organised by:
De Balie & ITA

Location of this programme: International Theater Amsterdam

“Architecture should evoke strong emotions. A design consists of more than walls and needs to tell a story”. From this vision, the pioneering architect Daniel Libeskind designs iconic buildings for use across the whole world. His striking designs such as the new World Trade Center after 9/11 and the Jewish Museum in Berlin show the anger, violence and sadness of these emotionally charged places. But at the same time, his iconic but controversial buildings and monuments also provoke violent reactions. For instance, his design for the national Holocaust memorial in Amsterdam is encountering fierce opposition.

During Sign of the Times, on the basis of stage scenes recited by actors from Internationaal Theater Amsterdam, we have a conversation with Daniel Libeskind about the relationship between architecture and social anger. How do you express anger and sadness through architecture? And is it your duty as an architect to overcome these emotions or rather to stir them up?

The young promising architect and researcher Arna Mackic (former STUDIO participant) will open the programme with an introduction about socially engaged architecture.

Actors Hans Kesting and Janni Goslinga (ITA) will recite scenes from amongst others The Fountainhead and Vallende Man. Actor and theatermaker Bo Tarenskeen will perform a scene from his play Speer.

Moderator: Lex Bohlmeijer

About the speakers

The American-Polish architect Daniel Libeskind was born in 1946 in a Polish ghetto as the son of Holocaust survivors. He studied music in Israel and the United States, but afterwards decided to become an architect. He made his reputation as an architect in 1989, when he was awarded the contract to design the Jewish Museum in Berlin. From that moment on, he has been renewing architecture through his radical designs.

Arna Mackic (1988, Bosnia and Herzegovina) is a talented architect and researcher, founder of Studio L A and is head of Architectural Design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. She is the author of the book Mortal Cities & Forgotten Monuments. In 2017 she won the Maaskant Prize for Young architects for her search for ‘inclusive architecture’ and new forms of public domain.

Main language: English with recitals in Dutch, for which English surtitles are provided

Programme makers: Merlijn Geurts & Yoeri Albrecht (De Balie), Johan Reyniers & Wiepke Westbroek (Internationaal Theater Amsterdam).

Sign of the Times

With Sign of the Times, Internationaal Theater Amsterdam and De Balie explore the social themes of today. In previous episodes, Femke Halsema and Thierry Baudet reflected on political identity, we spoke about the fury of Catalans with ex-President Carles Puigdemont, who fled from Spain, writers Antjie Krog and Kamel Daoud cast a spotlight on the colonial past, and Maaike Meijer and Sylvana Simons examined the ancient taboo on female anger. With Sign of the Times, De Balie and Internationaal Theater Amsterdam want to start the conversation, bring groups of people together and create space for multiple perspectives. Also, or rather in particular, when opinions differ.



Daniel LibeskindArchitect and designer
Arna MackicArchitect, researcher and writer
Lex BohlmeijerModerator