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The art of Minecraft: Building beauty, block by block

Think you're good at building castles and towns in Minecraft's creative mode? Excerpts from 'Beautiful Minecraft' show what serious talent can do.

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Stephen Shankland
Minecraft, the megahit videogame, comes with a creative mode that lets players construct whatever they want from the game's characteristic blocky elements. Many kids will experiment building houses and castles, but serious creators invest many hours building elaborate constructions. This rendition of the Villa La Rotonda, originally by architect Andrea Palladio but made in Minecraft by a two-person team from a company called BlockWorks, took a week to make. It's one of dozens of constructions in a new book called "Beautiful Minecraft."
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Villa La Rotonda

Minecraft, the megahit video game, comes with a creative mode that lets players construct whatever they want from the game's characteristic blocky elements. Many kids will experiment with building houses and castles, but serious creators invest many hours building elaborate constructions.

This rendition of the Villa La Rotonda, originally by architect Andrea Palladio but made in Minecraft by a two-person team from a company called BlockWorks, took a week to make. It's one of dozens of constructions in a new book called "Beautiful Minecraft."

​There's plenty of fantasy in "Beautiful Minecraft," including Nickolas Morton's "Ferelden Frostback," a mammoth dragon made over 41 days out of 375,000 blocks.
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'Ferelden Frostback'

There's plenty of fantasy in "Beautiful Minecraft," including Nickolas Morton's "Ferelden Frostback," a mammoth dragon made over 41 days out of 375,000 blocks.

​This interior stage is from a BlockWorks Team project called "Aeternum" that took 7 days and 100 million blocks.
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'Aeternum'

This interior stage is from a BlockWorks Team project called "Aeternum" that took seven days and 100 million blocks.

​Twelve people from the BlockWorks Team built "Gotham City" over five days out of 25 million blocks.
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'Gotham City'

Twelve people from the BlockWorks Team built "Gotham City" over five days out of 25 million blocks. Minecraft constructions can be laborious to make, but serious creators like BlookWorks often have custom tools that aid with things like copying and pasting sections or painting blocks into spaces the way you might paint pixels into a Photoshop graphic.

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The White House

Many of the book's scenes are fantastic, but some are based on real buildings -- in this case, The White House. This took Nickolas Morton 34 days to build out of 200,000 Minecraft blocks.

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Cover shot

The "Beautiful Minecraft" book from No Starch Press costs $20 and arrived in December. An e-book version costs $16.

Will Loader's "A Futuristic Past" took 28 days to make, using 9 million blocks.
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'A Futuristic Past'

Will Loader's "A Futuristic Past" took 28 days to make, using 9 million blocks.

​The sprawling realm by Andrzej Czerniewski called 'Phain - Game Board of the Ancients' has 10 million blocks and took a year to build.
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'Phain - Game Board of the Ancients'

The sprawling realm by Andrzej Czerniewski called "Phain - Game Board of the Ancients" has 10 million blocks and took a year to build.

​Vegard Elseth's 'Lindblum Gate' took 60 days to make out of 300,000 blocks.
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'Lindblum Gate'

Vegard Elseth's "Lindblum Gate" took 60 days to make out of 300,000 blocks.

​Mats Heiberg's "Babel," made over 31 days out of 8 million blocks, is reminiscent of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain.
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'Babel'

Mats Heiberg's "Babel," made over 31 days out of 8 million blocks, is reminiscent of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain.

​The BlockWorks Team "Deep Sea" took 9 builders 6 days to make out of 32 million blocks..jpg
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'Deep Sea'

The BlockWorks Team "Deep Sea" took 9 builders six days to make out of 32 million blocks.

​Paul Fuchs's "Cthulhu" has 100,000 blocks and took two weeks to make.
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'Cthulhu'

Paul Fuchs's "Cthulhu" has 100,000 blocks and took two weeks to make.

​Look familiar? "Battersea" by the BlockWorks Team is a 3 million block rendition of London's Battersea Power Station that was featured on a Pink Floyd album cover and ​will become Apple's UK headquarters.
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'Battersea'

Look familiar? "Battersea" by the BlockWorks Team is a 3 million block rendition of London's Battersea Power Station that was featured on a Pink Floyd album cover and will become Apple's UK headquarters.

​Here's the outside of BlockWorks Team's "Aeternum" with 100 million blocks.
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'Aeternum'

Here's the outside of BlockWorks Team's "Aeternum" with 100 million blocks.

​Visit "London" by the BlockWorks Team online. It's made of 30 million blocks and took 13 days to make.
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'London'

Visit "London" by the BlockWorks Team online. It's made of 30 million blocks and took 13 days to make.

​Andrzej Czerniewski's "Iaven - Magic of Colors" took 22 days to make out of an astounding 7 billion blocks.
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'Iaven - Magic of Colors'

Andrzej Czerniewski's "Iaven - Magic of Colors" took 22 days to make out of an astounding 7 billion blocks.

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