Studio International

Published 26/01/2004

Libeskind in Holloway

Daniel Libeskind's first London building (there is already the War Museum in Salford) has slipped quietly into the North London skyline, less controversially and less dramatically than his recently unveiled proposals for Ground Zero. In New York, he will bring about a brilliant yet controversial transformation. But at Holloway, London Metropolitan University has sought an everyday building that will nevertheless raise the profile of one of Britain's newest universities.

How hot can Holloway be? Will this insertion ensure that the Graduate School there, opening this spring, truly resonates? One of the problems, since the school occupies the only open campus space that existed, could be a local antagonism that - yes, you've guessed it - will manifest itself in graffiti additions to Libeskind's sleek-skinned non-monument. Libeskind remains unperturbed, since his is an architecture of survival and emancipation.

A bigger problem for Daniel is the curious 'cloning' of his aesthetic. In Canberra, Australia, The National Museum of Australia has a famous example; his Jewish Museum replicated by winking Melbourne architectural luminaries. Indeed the problem also pops up in Holloway, where people reputedly ask, 'whose is this building, so influenced by Libeskind?'.