Can you even call yourself an architect if you don’t have an old box of LEGO that you can’t bare to throw out stored away in an attic somewhere?
LEGO has become a part of architecture’s collective conscience – an inspiration, a modeling tool, a nostalgic driver, a raison d’être for architects who grew up piecing worlds together and imagining alternative realities. With the completion of BIG’s LEGO House in Billund, LEGO is once again in the spotlight. But, as this short documentary explains, it never really left.
Lego – The Building Blocks of Architecture, explores the history of LEGO and its relationship to architecture, from its humble origins with carpenter Ole Kirk Kristiansen in Nazi-occupied Denmark, to modernist ideals, to Olafur Eliasson’s social art endeavor – The Collectivity Project. A consistent idea is the application of pre-fab as an interpretation of LEGO in architecture – breaking architecture down into small parts and piecing them together on site.
The LEGO empire has expanded drastically in the past few decades, venturing into Hollywood, developing ranges of famous model buildings, and establishing model kits that are more focused on re-creation, rather than creation. Interestingly, this has operated alongside the digital equivalent of LEGO – Minecraft. Wholly similar in intent and philosophy, Minecraft is inspiring a new generation of young creators, all connected by a global network.
The nature of lego has changed over the years, with a tension between the commercial interests of the company and its original ideals. But what has stayed the same is our love for it. Bjarke Ingels explains in the video that he “wouldn’t be able to imagine [his] childhood without lego.” It is a part of the psyche of the architect, inspired by architecture and influencing the direction of the architectural world since its inception.
“In a matter of speaking, Denmark has become an entire country made out of LEGO®,” says Bjarke Ingels. Speaking of the importance of prefab in Denmark and how LEGO® inspired his first BIG project – the “LEGO® Towers,” which ultimately landed him a commission to design the LEGO® House – Bjarke Ingels discusses his favorite childhood toy and how it has helped him become a better architect.
Architect Adam Reed Tucker’s LEGO® models of architectural landmarks are currently on display at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa. Featuring everything from the Empire State Building to the Burj Khalifa, the models are built using only the “simplest bricks and hinges.”
With more than 70 million copies sold worldwide, it would be unfair to refer to Minecraft as just a simple game of textured boxes in a pixelated 3D world.
News via BBC.