Hypocrite in China


I’m going to come right out and say that this thing is a) basically the same as maaaaaaaddddd other Daniel Libeskind designs [I’m pretty tired of these starchitects, frankly] and b) carbon copy or not, it’s kind of a mess.

But, being a fan of the design or not isn’t even the point – as Libeskind has taken a commission in China, a nation that he suggested architects boycott earlier this year [so, a month or so ago]. Libeskind was speaking out against the human rights violations attributed to China, and called for architects to ‘take a more ethical stance’ – saying that HE ‘won’t work for totalitarian regimes’. So what’s changed, you ask? Well the project is in Hong Kong, which apparently is no longer part of China. My ninjas, PLEASE.
In response to the news, his wife [and the firm’s manager] gave the following statement:

“This is not a dogmatic idea for Daniel,” she said. “It’s a personal thing for him. We’ve seen what has happened in Tibet, but there is a rule of law in Hong Kong that Daniel is comfortable with” [this quote, and the previous quote via Times Online].

Sorry Daniel, but you can’t separate one from the other just because you want the $do-re-me$ – which is what this is all about. Regardless of Hong Kong’s appearance, it is only that way because it is a tool of the Chinese government. While MNP isn’t taking a stance on whether or not architects should accept projects there, I will say this: anyone who thinks doing business with Hong Kong is alright but the rest of China is morally unacceptable is PLAYING HIMSELF.


By the way – hasn’t Libeskind done work in Israel? He can’t see a parralel between that and the China-Tibet situation?
::news via BDonline::

Posted: April 7th, 2008
at 11:55pm by orangemenace

Categories: architecture,my ninja, please,featured ninjas,news

Comments: 11 comments


11 Responses to 'Hypocrite in China'

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  1. Word, word, and *word*, my hooded friends.


    8 Apr 08 at 12:08 am


  2. Glad you agree man. Thanks for the link-love on Where the other day, too.

    BTW – I just want to add: doesn’t thins thing look like his project in Toronto got value engineered, and they substituted the metal for some stucco or something? Gross.


    8 Apr 08 at 12:22 am


  3. Hong Kong is slightly different, I mean, if I’m going to Asia, I’d much rather be in Hong Kong (and I’ve been to both China and Hong Kong). But history tells us the truth. The UK pulled out in 1997 and left the “one country, two systems” thing in place. To the Chinese, HK and China is one and the same.

    Nice post, gotta tell it like it is sometimes.


    8 Apr 08 at 12:47 am


  4. If the vast majority of the West [and specifically the US in particular] was interested at all in building anything of substance rather than just Wal-Marts and cardboard houses on endless unsustainable infrastructure, then surely architects would build there. Can we blame architects for wanting to use their training? If the commissions are only coming from places like Dubai and Beijing, then that’s where we’ll build. Architects of substance [of which DL is most definetly not, as I’ve witnessed firsthand] have an ability to make a difference through these projects. To affect change from within totalitarian regimes. Meanwhile in the supposedly more ethical West we cant even pass congestion pricing?



    8 Apr 08 at 1:20 pm


  5. I mean, I don’t know what our training has to do with what these ‘starchitects’ have been designing – particularly what they’ve been designing in the UAE and China. But, even assuming that this iconic object buildings are really any good, how do they affect change in totalitarian regimes exactly? Yes, architecture has an immense ability to impact people – the way they live, work, rest + play, their moods, etc etc – but how is a building like Libeskind’s going to help the people of China? Does it bring hope?

    And, just to be clear: I’m not judging China [in this post] against the ‘west’ or otherwise. I’m merely saying that Libeskind himself is a hypocrite [and all his buildings look alike] for suggesting that Hong Kong is somehow different from China itself, and acceptable to build in while China is not.

    Are you really suggesting, however, that because we have our own problems we can’t take the stance that other nations need to shape up? You’re comparing a failed congestion pricing plan to large scale human rights violations? That’s just ridiculous.


    8 Apr 08 at 2:00 pm


  6. I totally agree that Daniel is being hypocritical, and I highly doubt the major tenants of the design are anything other than an exercise in ego. Having briefly worked at SDL, I can assure you that absolutely nothing goes into those projects other than how well they evoke “Chamber Works.”

    Obviously architecture is very limited when it comes to changing political structures, but within the particular sphere of influence of the profession it can have power. I’d much prefer a sustainable project by Lord Norman than an unsustainable one with little thought put into it. I do think that large companies and governments will build these propaganda projects whether Architecture with a capital ‘A’ chooses to abstain or not.

    My point was simply this: We [meaning the US] aren’t utilizing architect’s to they’re full affect. A ton of talent gets squandered in favor of either designed obsolescence or perceived obsolescence. So architects go to build where there is work.

    As to whether or not it is right to compare the ethical practices of the US versus China. We buy the products that fund that regime. The Dell keyboard I’m typing on was made in Shanghai. We should be boycotting more than just the Olympic torch run. I think there are parallels to be drawn from a seemingly small thing like a failed congestion pricing plan and larger things like human rights violations. The same pervasive consumerism supports both.


    8 Apr 08 at 2:42 pm


  7. Well…Touché. haha

    No, really tho – I would say you just about summed it all up right there. I agree that we should be boycotting more than the torch, and for more reasons than for a ‘Free Tibet’ [I use the quotes because even without Chinese involvement, Tibet is still a theocracy – we wouldn’t call it ‘free’ if it wasn’t Buddhist. Muslim nations that don’t distinguish between religion and state don’t get that same respect. That being said, they should free Tibet…].

    Anyways, great to hear from someone who worked for the man in question. Thanks for the great comments.


    8 Apr 08 at 3:00 pm


  8. Interesting…Some architects are so narrow-minded.
    When you boycott the others, you are also being boycotted.
    Come on, People. This world is big enough for all of us. Don’t act like a little bitch.

    apple seed

    12 Apr 08 at 6:22 pm


  9. daniel liebeskind is a hypocrite in addition to being a no-talent prima donna.

    the fact that his persiflages about human rights get so much attention are a testament to the fact that our supposedly free media is often used as a subtle yet effective propaganda tool for the powers in charge. if he wanted to make a stand, he’d say something about our own plutocratic and increasingly militaristic government. china’s an easy target as it’s a blatant autocracy. yet its growth in the past several decades has been helped by our slavish addiction to their exports, which has also helped to hollow out our own industrial base. no one says anything about the state of labor in china. much like the US in its industrializing era, labor exploitation is arguably the most widespread human rights abuse in today’s china. yet we shut up about it. if ANYONE complains too much about the low pay and working conditions in china, the various multinational companies will simply find a more emasculated workforce elsewhere. yeah, daniel liebeskind barks about an easy target in the western media, yet he ignores the sheer dearth of democracy in our own corporate realm.


    16 May 08 at 8:53 pm


  10. The only thing uglier than a Daniel-Libeskind building is Daniel’s wife Nina. Man, but that guy is into some weird s#*t. I’d rather get up on a broken coke bottle that get too close to that mustache-faced bull-dyke.


    28 Aug 08 at 7:25 pm


  11. sure u r right he is a jews and much enlightened by the west abd he will bell the ring of west
    its better to avoid those architect from asia


    22 Apr 09 at 11:01 am



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