“We made a good team”


CityLife in Milan was designed by some of the world's most famous architects. We talked to Yama Karim from Studio Libeskind in New York about the city's new landmark.

What fascinates you about CityLife?
We have forged a link between the historic part of Milan and CityLife. Even with our modern design, we have been able to bring about the renaissance and revitalization of the former exhibition site. CityLife is one of the most important projects of my whole career.

How did three star architects manage to work together?
It was no problem. Zaha Hadid, Arata Isozaki and our studio had similar ideas when it came to building a new district in an historic setting. Our concepts complemented each other. We made a good team.

Why is the Libeskind tower curved?
The goal was for all three towers to have their own character while being connected in some way. Our tower completes the composition on the site – as if it is embracing the two towers. This composition is intended to echo the idea of a piazza. Our piazza is vertical and reaches up towards the sky.


The shape of Il Curvo didn’t exactly make life easy for Schindler’s engineers.
Why should we make life easy for them? If the task was simple, we wouldn’t need to work with Schindler! (laughs). I regard Schindler as state of the art. I already use the Schindler name almost like a synonym for elevators.

How do people benefit from great architecture?
Architecture has a huge influence on all aspects of life. It shapes our view of the world, our character, and our well-being. We experience every space differently depending on its light, materials, and colors. We are people, not machines.

Yama Karim is a Partner at Studio Libeskind in New York. He is responsible for the master plan for all Libeskind construction projects on the CityLife site in Milan. Karim graduated from Columbia University with a Masters in Architecture in 1995 and from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design in 1991. He spent a year as a guest professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. He joined the Studio Libeskind in 2003.


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