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Cube

review - By David Morrow Guthrie. Princeton Architectural Press, 2005. 160pp.£12.50

Cube turns a student assignment into a glamorous little book. In three related exercises, David Morrow Guthrie gets his pupils to make 16' x 16' x 16' cubes: as a wooden frame; as a frame with a gypsum board/plywood 'skin' on five of its six sides; and as a 'synthetic solid' made of two materials ('anything but food'). Though not spelt out as such, this process counters the seduction of the virtual: the task is to work with materials directly, to construct something that's complete in itself, and to develop/resolve ideas in the act of making.

Presented uniformly on a black background in a small square format, even the less-inventive examples look quite good. But some of Guthrie's students, although in essence asked just to make a 'box', have really thought outside it.

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