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Daniel Libeskind: The Space of Encounter Paperback – April 21, 2001

2.1 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In the (anti-)tradition of Rem Koolhaas's and Bruce Mau's S,M,L,XL, this volume is less a photographic tour through the edifices of maverick architect Daniel Libeskind than a fractured, sometimes frustrating and always compelling spin through a giant edifice of ideas. Though he has been a been a leading architectural professor and theoretician for some 20 years (Philip Johnson calls him "Quirky, maddening, but brilliant..."), Libeskind only showed up on the international radar as a practitioner a few years ago when his jarring, norm-busting Jewish Museum Berlin earned him a Pritzker nomination--and such high-profile new commissions as the Imperial War Museum in Manchester, England; the Jewish Museum San Francisco (JMSF); an extension to the Denver Art Museum; and, most sensationally, an addition to London's beloved Victoria and Albert Museum. This last is a giant tiled geometric phenomenon that spirals right up out of the sober nineteenth-century pile's courtyard into the sky. Nicknamed just that--"The Spiral"--it elicited a public furor in which no one in the monument-fetishizing U.K. hasn't had an opinion.

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

Review

"Daniel is slowly but surely making his mark in the built world. I am very excited about his work and about this book. It's a chance for the rest of the world to get on board."--Frank Gehry

"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
-- Review
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Universe; First Edition / First Printing edition (2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789304961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789304964
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #260,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Following up from Libeskind's previous monograph, radix matrix, "The Space of Encounter" read brilliantly into the life of this master architect. However whilst the former read as an extrusion into his work, "Space" intelligently delves into the writing that aided in the creation of such experience like the Jewish Museum in Berlin. With additional writing by the likes of Kipnis and Vidler it makes this book a must read for anyone interested in the theory and manifestation architectural of ideas. Though the pictures are few, the articulation of the writing weaves fantastical imagery lending to very technique used by Libeskind in his drawings. The book is convenient, as well - fitting nicely in the hand or satchel, making it the ideal companion both in size and in content. Libekind's "Space of Encounter" is easily the "S, M, L, XL" of the new era.
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Format: Paperback
Libeskind has refind his deconstructivist style, expressionist architecture and somewhat of an "acquired" taste. The book shows only a couple of pictures per project, however the reading gives a fantastic insight into the mind of Libeskind. I'm not the type that would usually read the amount of text that's included in this book but it does draw you in, enabling a full and "accurate" understanding of what his architecture is all about. If your not passionate about deconstructivist architecture steer well clear.
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By A Customer on April 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
I suppose you have to look at self-penned monographs with a degree of suspicion. Libeskid is the last person to be honestly critical of his own work, so expect a one-sided view of things here. Libeskind is one of the enfant-terribles of architecture today. Like the spoiled brat who insists on making crayon marks on the wall precisely because he was told not to do it, Libeskind sets himself apart with similarly juvenile concepts and the ill-considered drawings to go with them. Sure it is different, but look closely at the left-over spaces and failed urbanism of all his 'sculptural' work, and you will understand how tiresome and fashionable this stuff really is. Libeskind's work is characterized by capricious and random decision making. His 'logic' (if it can be called such), does not stant up to rational scrutiny. If flashy, slick and loud is your thing, Libeskind will certainly have something to satisfy any need for instant gratification of this sort. But if you plan on maturing as a civilized architect with a finely-honed intellectual basis for your thinking process, then look elsewhere.
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By A Customer on May 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
Libeskind's conceptual position has always been highly abstract and not rooted in the real world. His buildings reflect this distancing from the human condition and help to explain why they make such poor architecture. Libeskind delights in the youthful act of "challenging" the status quo, not because he can find fault with it, rather because it is the easy way to achieve fame and recognition. But his work ultimately fails both as architecture (which he does not understand) AND as sculpture (which is how he really perceives it). This is the pouting work of a spoiled brat who throws tantrums rather than learn why civilised behavior is best in company. Look closely at the gimmicky concepts for most of his work (the `shard' and `shell' of the British War Museum is a fine example) and see how poor these one-trick ideas are. As for urban space, Libeskind doesn't even try. This is the severe work of an outsider who cannot accept that he has never fit in. That the work is so joyless becomes easier to understand.
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Format: Paperback
The refreshing thing about this book is that it steers away from the traditional 'monograph' format, in presenting work both built and unbuilt as well as significant theoretical treatises from Libeskind and others. There could have been more attention paid to structuring the content so that the projects followed a particular line of architectural strategy (as opposed to alphabetical organisation) but with Libeskind this is likely an intertextual approach, allowing the projects to be linked as the reader sees fit. An excellent snapshot of the thoughts of one of todays best architects...
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By A Customer on May 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
Firstly, you have to know that when Libeskind moved to New York, he hired another Architect (Alexander Gorlin) to design his own apartment. That alone should say a great deal about the hypocrisy of architecture's current king salesman/charlatan. But a look at this volume reveals why he may have made such a decision. Libeskind's rational is abstract at best, and barely rational. He cannot respond to human needs (vis-a-vis his own apartment) so he avoids designing for them. Only a fool would be taken in by the pretentious writing in this preposterous book. Decide for yourself if the cap fits.
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