Daniel Libeskind is an American architect ranked amongst the twelve most important in the world, and was the winner of the design competition for the reconstruction work on the site of Ground Zero in New York. His design here frames a girder from the World Trade Center in a composition that is an affirmation of universal human values.
The structure takes the form of two large walls of satin-finish glass, which open like the leaves of a book to reveal within the fragment of the steel girder, almost six metres long; the illumination and the focus of detail change as one moves around the piece. In discussing this work, Daniel Libeskind commented: “The light of Liberty shines through the Book of History. This Book is open in memory of the heroes of 11 September. The eternal affirmation of Freedom is inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty, which was seen by the millions of emigrants that arrived in America. On the left page, what is inscribed is the dramatic steel girder recuperated from the ruins of the World Trade Center. The latitude of New York is linked to the centre of Padua by the vertical spine of the Book. The book is luminous, as is the low, evocative wall that creates an intimate space for meditation. The luminosity of this “beacon’ has a subtly modulated rhythm. The Book is delicately balanced amidst the historic buildings of Padua, the bridge and the watercourse beneath. The whole project also includes a ‘rediscovery’ of the old city walls, creating what is, at one and the same time, a site of memory and an uplifting place of inspiration. This special place will shine out, night and day, through every season of the year.”