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CRITIC'S CHOICE

REVIEW

The West African mud building above could easily have appeared in Bernard Rudofsky's ground-breaking Architecture Without Architects (1964), but, if so, it would have been in grainy black and white. 'I was struck by the originality of their pure forms and by their textural beauty, and was curious as to why these exceptional buildings have been largely ignored in the records of world culture, ' says James Morris.

'So I set out to discover more.' The photographs Morris went on to take were published in Butabu (Princeton Architectural Press, £35), and a number of them are now on show at Aberystwyth Arts Centre until 16 July (www. aber. ac. uk/artscentre). Although his images give due weight to the striking sculptural qualities of the buildings - to those forms and textures that he first admired - to his credit Morris resists turning them into a series of near-abstractions. You are always aware of the life lived within and among them - villagers relishing the shade of a tree or prayers in a dimly lit mosque. You sense, too, especially in close-ups where you can almost touch a wall, the labour necessary to keep the buildings functioning and habitable, for this is high-maintenance architecture, whose friability is never in doubt. Hence Morris says his photographs are 'a permanent record, but not a record of permanence'.

Cedric Price died in 2003, and while there have been books on him since, there has not been an exhibition. From 25 June to 9 October, London's Design Museum makes up for this by staging Cedric Price: Doubt, Delight and Change. Will there be an attempt to map Price's influence - connections between what he envisaged but others built? Curator Sophie McKinley says that the exhibition design, by occasional collaborators Jon Hares and Michael Marriott, is going to be 'rigorous, intelligent and discreet', while Will Alsop lectures on Price at the museum on Monday 27 June at 7.15pm.

Price's Fun Palace will be on show, and also appears in a RIBA/Hayward Gallery exhibition, Fantasy Architecture 1500-2036. Reviewed by Austin Williams when first staged in Sunderland (AJ 03.06.04), this has now travelled to the Towner Gallery, Eastbourne, where it can be seen until 10 July.

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