All told, though, Libeskind hasn't had that many commissions, and most of them weren't even completed at the time of the book's production--which perhaps accounts for why this nouveau monograph is really about seventy-five percent text, all of it set in various funky juxtaposed types and comprising a vast selection of Libeskind's speeches, lectures, interviews, project texts, and the like. (Libeskind has also attained considerable recognition for his quasi-experimental architectural models and illustrations, many of which are featured here.) Much of this text (almost all of which, save a few Dadaist forays, is vastly more linear and transparent than Libeskind's fascinating, challenging postindustrial architecture) pertains to his built or in-progress work, photographs or drawings of which are also included here--though never keyed to the same page as the text in which they are discussed. If that seems annoying, it sometimes is--though it's rather clear that Libeskind and the book's editor and designer did it intentionally to disrupt the conventional way we consume an architectural monograph, flipping through from A to Z, oohing and aahing over the color-soaked pictures, and grazing over their pert corresponding captions.
If you try to experience The Space of Encounter in that fashion, you'll get frustrated. Better to approach it the way Libeskind apparently wants people to experience his architecture--from many points in time, space, and human experience, in seemingly random, dissociated bits and pieces. Just like his signature windows, which look as though they were blasted onto walls by a not-very-good shot with a futuristic laser gun, they will, once you get close enough, afford a dazzling, if not wholly unified, vista out onto a new world of forms, language, and ideas. --Timothy Murphy
"Daniel Libeskind is the most obvious comer in the architectural firmament. Quirky, maddening, but brilliant--he is perhaps the best architect of his particular age group."--Philip Johnson