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Peter Smithson: Conversations With Students Princeton Architectural Press, 2005. 100pp. £12.50

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BOOK REVIEW

'Metal buildings demand a tremendous amount of resources and energy to make them; and although you get minimum weight with fabric, that minimum weight costs you a lot. That's why Buckminster Fuller was a banana.' So says Peter Smithson in one of the 'conversations' with American students recorded in this book. Topics range from such Smithson staples as 'emptiness' and 'conglomerate order' to Mies, the Eames, Paul Rudolph and Some Like It Hot.

Though Smithson's comments have the sense of being longmeditated, he resists playing the sage, at times opting even for self-deprecation - 'only one person in 25 million likes it', he says of his Building 6 East at Bath. This engaging little book has more substance than it might seem.

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