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Published 19/03/2004 email E-MAIL print PRINT

It's that Libeskind again

Daniel Libeskind slipped unobtrusively back into London from New York, again, for 8 and 9 March 2004 to attend the opening of London's stealthiest new acquisition, the Graduate Centre for London Metropolitan University on the Holloway Road in North London. In the words of a local commentator, 'it's easy to see that this is strongly influenced by Libeskind'. But, actually, it's all Libeskind through and through - unlike the National Museum of Australia in Canberra, a recent 'clone' of the Jewish Museum, Berlin, by two talented Melbourne architects who were just too humorously clever. Public money too, mate. Remarkably, no writ as yet from New York.

The new building in Holloway dramatically redefines this bustling, polyglot thoroughfare by endowing the streetline with its first masterwork. After all, it has been missing a monument to the strikes of 1968 - something vibrant - out of the same institution. The building not only catalyses the activity of the new university, but powerfully redefines the street. Libeskind is a beacon for lost spirits, whether designing for Berlin, New York, or here. Many of the inhabitants of the Holloway area are new arrivals, and many have been given sanctuary by London Metropolitan University. Libeskind has caught the ethos of Holloway Road. It is not entirely different from Lower Manhattan. It is also one further step up the ladder to realising the brilliant 'Spiral' extension to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Daniel is adept at finding the ladders, and avoiding the snakes in the grass, which abound perhaps more in London than even in New York.

A full review of the Graduate Centre will appear in Studio International later this spring

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