November 1, 2004
by Canadian Architect
The University of Toronto will be conferring the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, upon the internationally acclaimed architect, Daniel Libesknid, at the fall convocation on Wednesday, November 17.
Mr. Libeskind is well known for his ongoing design work on the master plan for Ground Zero and the World Trade Center site, as well as for his collaborating role on the new 1776-feet-high Freedom Tower, which is now under construction in Lower Manhattan. Libeskind has also received broad recognition for his Jewish Museum in Berlin and the Imperial War Museum in Manchester. The war museum has been shortlisted for this year’s prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize in the UK.
Annually, the University of Toronto calls on deans and other University leaders to put forth nominations for honorary degrees for approval by Governing Council.
In the fall of 2003, Professor Larry Richards, dean of al&d at the time, successfully nominated Daniel Libeskind. Richards notes that Libeskind was a faculty member at the school in the late 1970s; held the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design’s Frank Gehry International Visiting Chair in Architectural Design during the spring term of 2003; and is architect for the transformation of the Royal Ontario Museum.
Professor Richards adds: "Daniel Libeskind entered the world of architecture as an extremely engaging theorist and teacher. After teaching at al&d in the late ’70s, he became head of the architecture program at Cranbrook Academy. Soon after this theory and teaching period, he won the international competition for the Jewish Museum in Berlin and moved more and more into practice. Then in 2003 he was selected for the World Trade Center master plan and Freedom Tower, and he and his wife and business partner, Nina Libeskind (a native of Toronto), moved their office to New York to become involved in that complex, controversial project. Meanwhile it is quite exciting to see Daniel’s bold addition to the Royal Ontario Museum start to take shape. The University of Toronto and our Faculty have been fortunate to have a long association with Daniel, and U of T’s bestowing of this honorary degree will be a fitting tribute to him."
Libeskind joins an illustrious group of architects who have received honorary degrees from the University of Toronto, including Frank Darling (1916), Sir Raymond Unwin (1933), Eberhard Zeidler (1989), Phyllis Lambert (1991), Raymond Moriyama (1994), and Frank Gehry (1998).