Housing Complex

Jewish Museum at Old Post Office Could Be D.C.’s First Daniel Libeskind

A rough sketch. (NMOTJP.org)

Gradually, gradually, the big-name out-of-town modern architects are planting their flags in D.C. To grumbling from classicists, Frank Gehry's got the Eisenhower memorial. Eastbanc commissioned Enrique Norten for their West End project. And now, World Trade Center master planner* Daniel Libeskind has a crack at a spot in D.C., with the National Museum of the Jewish People' proposal for the Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue.

It wouldn't be the whole building, obviously. The lion's share of the space would be taken up by a Park Hyatt hotel, while the museum would be built on the site of the existing glass annex. The museum has already been extensively programmed, and includes—get this—holographic representations of famous Jews, like Sandy Koufax. With exhibits about Jewish contributions to culture, architecture, science, etc., the museum is supposed to have an "uplifting narrative" that will "balance the tragic story told in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum" (not to mention another depressing museum that should be coming online at about the same time).

And obviously, Libeskind is the guy to take on this kind of thing, having already designed Jewish museums in Berlin, San Francisco, and Copenhagen.

The museum people are up against Donald Trump, JBG, Monument, and at least one other that I haven't quite pinned down yet.

* Corrected; Libeskind did not design the Freedom Tower.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_t_in_dc/ Mr T in DC

    Yuck; I'm not a fan of his (or Gehry's). The Federal Triangle is not the place for glitzy experimentation; there are plenty of other sites in the city where a modernist expression would be more appropriate.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_t_in_dc/ Mr T in DC

    Not in my sorta work backyard, ha ha!

  • JohnInNova

    Let's just hope that Trump stays totally out of Washington DC!!

  • Nick

    I can't imagine Trump being able to comply with the height restrictions. I could imagine him trying to get around the height restrictions and build the new tallest building in DC.

  • 3rdstreetdesign

    Libeskind designed the original freedom tower ( http://www.thecityreview.com/wtcfree.html ), not the one you link to (read further down the page). Skidmore muscled him out and redesigned it into the current boring office building shown in the rendering. Libeskind is credited only with designing the site plan.

  • Sharon Levy

    FYI - Libeskind is not "the Freedom Tower Designer". He was fired from that project. (David Childs is the Freedom Toweer Designer.) - The people of Washington would do well to look at Libeskind's other screw ups in Toronto and Denver before they waste good money on this clown or any of his badly executed designs.

  • Don

    They picked Libeskind?? I guess the client wants an over-budget, under-designed, space-wasting leaky building called "crystal".

  • Jakob K

    Daniel Libeskind's tacky and tasteless work cheapens and trvializes Jewish culture. He delivers the same jagged and hostile forms for every project whether it be a Holocaust Museum or a shopping center in Las Vegas. Already the interior perspectives (see link) looks like a mall. Get rid of him before he makes more of a mockery of this place than he already has!

  • Lydia DePillis

    @3rdStreetDesign and @SharonLevy -

    Thankyou, correction made.

  • Jakob K

    Actually ... despite his own misrepresentations to the contrary, Libeskind's not really the Master Planner either. He’s all but been kicked off the entire project since 2003. See http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/20/arts/architecture-the-incredible-shrinking-daniel-libeskind.html

    This guy couldn’t even design his own apartment. Although that did not stop him claiming to the NYTimes that he did. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/21/magazine/21wwln_domains.1.html

    If the Jewish museum wants a two-faced disingenuous phony, they’re looking in the right place by talking to Danny Libeskind.

  • Kerry

    Oh no! The only thing worse than the politicians in Washington would be Daniel Libeskind in Washington. Ground Zero doesn't want him; we don't want him either!! Tell him to keep his ugly designs to himself.

  • Cynthia P

    Libeskind's dubious clain to fame is based on his disturbed need to violate historical structures more dignified than anything in his own rather embarrassing portfolio. He's already done enormous damage to Toronto's once handsome ROM, among others. Keep this loudmouth amateur away from our Old Post Office. If Libeskind is let into Washington, he won't stop until he destroys the White House and the Capitol with his hideous acretions.

  • TK

    The phrase "D.C.'s First Daniel Libeskind (project)" does mot imply an honor. Rather it implies a potentially embarrassing cultural and urban disaster. Ask the people of Toronto what they think of their Libeskind museum. Ask the people of London why thay rallied to stop Libeskind destroying their beautiful V&A Museum.

  • Karl

    The Old Post Office deserves better than to be debased with one of the self-important Mr. Libeskind's indulgent "creations". There are plenty of better architects who know how to respect our built heritage.

  • GeeGee

    Libeskind will bring the worst form of pretentious design to the project. Tell him to go away and retire before he ruins any more cities with his awful work.

  • Richard

    Why is there a need for a "National Museum of the Jewish People." I would ask the National Park Service why there are not " National Museums" for Italian, Polish, Russian, Swedish, Irish, etc peoples?