LEGO is quickly becoming an increasingly popular medium among the artisan community, with the likes of Adam Reed Tucker, Tom Alphin and others using LEGO blocks to form landmark works of architecture. Now, Arndt Schlaudraff has entered the fray with a selection of Brutalist LEGO buildings set make Modernists drool. Surprisingly, there are only 11 official LEGO Certified Professionals in the world but that hasn't stopped Berlin-based "MOC" (a popular phrase in the LEGO lexicon meaning "my own creation") artist, Arndt Schlaudraff (who hails from advertising, not architecture) from building. Schlaudraff, it seems, has a taste for Brutalist-style blocks as he has created numerous replicas of Modernist masterpieces, most notably Louis Kahn's Salk Institute (above). Using only white bricks (unlike fellow creator Tom Alphin) and aided by their orthogonal nature, Schlaudraff is able to perfect the clean finishes, crisp lines, and massing often found in Brutalist architecture. While his work (or rather, hobby) is predominantly LEGO-based, other slightly more realistic elements do enter the fray. This can be seen in the form of model motorcars and scale people being included in the photographs; however, few LEGO aficionados are likely to approve of this. That said, it could also be argued that the models intentionally detract from the LEGO-style and at times it can be very easy to forget you are looking at a LEGO building because of this. If you fancy getting your hands on a copy, think again. The shelf-life of Schlaudraff's creations is virtually non-existent as he only takes the time to photograph the models before dismantling them and starting from scratch on a new design. Despite not having an architectural background, the Berlin resident commented on how his city was once used as a playground for Modernists, something which has fed his imagination. "Someone once said that Berlin is the city where the best architects of the world build their worst buildings, which I think is really funny and also a bit true," he said in a recent interview. Speaking of architecture, Schlaudraff went on to say how Mies van der Rohe's rejuvenated National Gallery in Berlin was one of his favorite buildings. "I recently followed Bjarke Ingels on Instagram. I think his projects are super interesting," he said, adding, that Herzog and de Meuron were his "all-time favorites." Speaking of his admiration of Brutalism, Schlaudraff said he enjoyed the "sculptural aspect of Brutalist architecture." "If it’s a good Brutalist building it’s like a piece of art, a big sculpture. You can walk around and always see new views and sights which look like art. Many people just see an ugly piece of rotten concrete, but it’s so much more," he continued. "As for Modernist architecture, I like that it’s so clean. The ideas of Modernist architecture are over 80 years old, but still look recent." More examples of Schlaudraff's work can be found on his Instagram feed at @lego_tonic.
Posts tagged with "LEGO Architecture":
Architect Adam Reed Tucker has taken the art of LEGO building to towering new heights. He created 12 LEGO architectural wonders, all of which can be seen at the The Art of Architecture exhibition at the Figge Art Museum in Iowa. Tucker, it turns out, is part of an elite group of only 11 official LEGO Certified Professionals in the world and contributes new additions to the popular LEGO Architecture Series. Many of Tucker's LEGO skyscrapers are from his hometown, Chicago, including the John Hancock Building, Trump Tower, Marina City towers, Hancock Tower, and the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). Also on display are icons from across the globe including the Empire State Building, the St. Louis Arch, and the Burj Khalifa. That latter tower was built using over 450,000 LEGO bricks, rising to 17 feet. Unbuilt projects are also included, such as the Chicago Spire and 7 South Dearborn. According to Tucker, the project is “all about celebrating architecture and using plastic, interlocking bricks as my medium. Lego was the easiest three-dimensional medium to use because it doesn’t require gluing or cutting, it’s self-contained, interlocking, and everyone knows how to snap them together.” "The LEGO brick is my way of illustrating my creativity," Tucker said in Philip Wilkinson's LEGO Architecture book. "I use it in order to physically and visually demonstrate what architecture is—through my eyes. Whether recreating a world famous landmark or inventing something completely original, I utilise the Lego brick as a creative medium to capture the essence of design." The Art of Architecture also includes monochrome architectural photography by J. Hunt Harris II and will run through to May 29. (Courtesy Figge Art Museum)
A miniature LEGO model of the Lincoln Memorial has just launched under the LEGO Architecture brand, a “Lego for grownups” product line that celebrates architecture and the chameleon capabilities of the LEGO brick. Featuring recreations of landmark buildings such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Sydney Opera House and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the latest set honors the memorial completed in May 30, 1922 in homage to the 16th president of the United States. The final cost of the memorial approached $3 million, although just $2 million had been initially allocated. Despite not being immediately apparent to the naked eye, the building’s columns and exterior walls are slightly inclined toward the interior to compensate for visual perspective distortions that would make the building appear to bulge at the top. Honoring the 57th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, the memorial designed by Henry Bacon resembles a Greek temple, with 36 fluted Doric columns to represent the number of recognized states at the time of Lincoln's death. Visible from the outside is the famous oversize statue by Daniel Chester French, with Lincoln’s left hand clenched to symbolize strength and determination and his right palm open in a show of charity and compassion. While the LEGO model measures a mere two inches tall, 4 inches wide, and 3 inches deep, it has an easily removable roof for viewing the statue inside. Aspiring towards a true-to-life remake, the model includes the steps leading up to the building from the reflecting pool. The set includes a sorely-needed plastic brick separator for detaching those notoriously clingy flat bricks, as well as a 65-page instruction manual.
The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has begun assembling the pieces of its life-size LEGO House in Billund, Denmark. The wunderkind, himself, recently joined the LEGO Group’s brass (er, plastic?) for the ceremonial groundbreaking, which was really more of a brick-laying as six LEGO-shaped foundation stones were unveiled at the site. Imprinted on those stones were the words: “imagination, creativity, fun, learning, caring, and quality.” According to LEGO, the 129,000-square-foot structure—which, duh is shaped like the little bricks—will offer both “hands-on” and “minds-on” experiences. Those experiences will be had within four separate “play zones.” For the more academic tots, the LEGO House will also present “the story of the family company including the development of the LEGO products, the LEGO brand and the LEGO Group.” Not as exciting, but still important. “[LEGO House] will appear like a cloud of interlocking LEGO bricks that form spaces for exploration and exhibition for its visitors within,” Ingels said in a statement. “On the outside the pile of bricks form the roof of a new covered square as well as a mountain of interconnected terraces and playgrounds."
LEGO Architecture has released a new box set—and from the looks of it, this isn't your grandmother’s architectural plaything. The new LEGO set is not the usual plastic-brick model of Rockefeller Center or the Empire State Building. No, this new set is cutting-edge. It goes where no other LEGO box set has gone before: it's a replica of an icon so iconic that it doesn’t even exist yet. It’s a limited-edition replica of the Bjarke Ingels–designed LEGO Museum in the company’s birthplace of Billund, Denmark. Spotted by John Hill at A Daily Dose of Architecture and selling on eBay for well over $100, the set also features what appears to be a shaggy-haired Bjarke Ingels figurine, which would place him in the company of Yoda, the Lone Ranger, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as icons that have also been shrunk to LEGO-sized proportions. Hill described the set as "LEGO imitating architecture imitating LEGO," a reference to BIG's clear inspiration for the LEGO House. A video-rendering of the project (above) might even double as an assembly guide for the LEGO Architecture Series set. The real LEGO House will be a blocky, 82,000-square-foot exhibition space designed to celebrate the toy’s history. BIG's real-life museum isn't projected to open until 2016, so if you buy the set now, you'll probably beat Bjarke to the finish line.
On August 1st, LEGO released a new kit in its series of building block design sets marketed specifically to architecture enthusiasts. LEGO’s Architecture Studio Kit, from its Architecture Series of adult-catered building sets, consists of 1,200 all white and translucent plastic bricks but no instructions. The free-for-all kit is endorsed by MAD Architects of Beijing and comes with a guidebook of architecture building exercises. Michael Bleby of Business Review Weekly writes that this set "is the first in the range to focus on creativity and architectural principles, rather than a specific architectural icon." A modernist’s dream that costs significantly less than others within the series, LEGO may possibly have caught onto a new niche market. Especially when reviews thus far of the landmark-specific Architecture Series have been mixed from architects and enthusiasts alike. The Architecture Series offers sets of building blocks that instruct users to create small versions of famous architectural landmarks, houses, and buildings ranging from Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater to the White House. Sets are built for the novelty of owning a miniature model, not for the purpose of play and constant redesign, like the traditional primary-colored LEGO bricks marketed at children. However, Business Review Weekly reports that architects purchasing the sets for personal use are increasingly dissatisfied with the scale, lack of detail, and high price of the Architecture sets. In an Architizer critique of the LEGO series, AJ Artemel questions whether these Series sets with their limited pieces, instructions, and purpose actually hinder creativity rather than encourage it: “It seems as if the sort of learning discovered through play and exploration can only take place in an environment with many options and lots of flexibility. And without the large degree of interchangeability offered by LEGO’s sandbox-style sets, the ‘systematic’ overwhelms the ‘creativity.’” In comparison, designs created by owners of the newly released Architecture Studio Kit have no presupposed end. Available online for only $150, builders have creative freedom with the colorless set. Within the constant critique of the architecture world, LEGO's new set promises space for architectural experiment, done in miniature plastic bricks.