We’ve featured the marvelous structures of master LEGO architect Rocco Buttliere quite frequently here at The Brothers Brick, from downtown Chicago to his recent 12-foot Golden Gate Bridge. Rocco’s latest LEGO build captures the heart of the sprawling Westminster World Heritage Site in the City of London, centered (or centred, if you prefer) on Westminster Abbey, the Church of St Margaret, and the Palace of Westminster where the UK Parliament meets.
I have a personal tradition of watching a depressing movie on Christmas Eve; I find it has a nice effect of tempering the holiday festivities with some sobering reality.
The display not only includes street scenes, great architecture, and other above-ground details, but also extensive underground detail, such as sewers, crypts, and fossils.
I’ll enjoy a good vignette any day, and this one by Jonas O. (-Wat-) is an example of one that captures ample detail without trying to be extravagant.
The professional builders from Bright Bricks have a reputation to uphold for building big things for Christmas. In 2011 their 38 ft brick-built Christmas tree dazzled travelers passing through St. Pancras Station in London and set a record for being the world’s largest LEGO tree. Last year they built the world’s largest LEGO Advent Calendar for Covent Garden. This year they’ve built a fantastic collection of London landmarks to go inside the world’s largest LEGO snow globe. It measures an impressive 3m x 3m x 3m (10ft x 10ft x 10ft). It’s quite possibly the only LEGO snow globe and neither the snow nor the globe are made of LEGO, but who cares?
Snow gets blown through the globe and it has a tunnel down the middle that visitors can walk through, to be pretty much surrounded by it and to possibly feel a bit like London mayor Boris Johnson did in Feb 2009, when one of the largest snowfalls in recent history dumped 20 cm of white flakes on his city, bringing it to a stand-still.
I had the pleasure of visiting the Bright Bricks workshop in early October, when this project had just gotten underway. It must be tempting to cut some corners (perhaps even literally) here and there when building professionally for an audience that largely consists of people who don’t build with LEGO and who may not appreciate all the intricacies, but these are high-quality models. Having seen some of the builds at an early stage, I was very impressed by the level of detail and the clever build techniques that went into them.
The snow globe is on display at Covent Garden London until early January.
Eurobricks member MECHALEX built London’s St Paul’s cathedral and took a set of photos that had me fooled for a while thinking it was a render. Another feature that escaped my first glance was that the model contained at least 6 colors instead of the 3 obvious ones of tan, white, and light grey. Using those extra shades in a subtle manner probably contributed to a subconscious portion of my appreciation of the creation at first sight.
Ralph (Mad Physicist) is assembling a fleet of British vehicles for displays he contributes to as part of the Brickish Association in the UK. His latest is a Miniland-scale Routemaster, better known as the double-decker London bus. Ralph captures the iconic curves wonderfully.
I never got the opportunity to take a ride on one while I was in London a few years ago, but oddly, there’s one that a local garden center uses as a greenhouse up the road here in Seattle…
I’ve generally avoided news about the 2012 Olympics in London in order to preserve some measure of surprise as I watch the much-delayed — and rightly much-maligned — TV coverage on NBC here in the States. That’s meant that we haven’t really featured much in the way of LEGO Olympics models here over the last couple of weeks. Let’s correct that, as I watch the closing ceremonies, in one fell swoop.
Her Majesty the Bloody Queen stole the show at the opening ceremonies, but didn’t look especially entertained during what was actually quite an amazing show. Iain Heath captures the Queen’s look when she visited the Athletes’ Village the next day.
Warren Elsmore spent 250 hours and 300,000 bricks building a 1:500 scale model of many recognizable Olympic buildings.
The Guardian commissioned a series of brick-by-brick stop-motion videos by Fabian Moritz, showcasing important moments during the Olympics. My favorite was Michael Phelps’ 16th gold medal.
Finally, don’t miss McKayla Maroney’s disapproval in the post right below this one.
The UK is currently gripped by both Olympic Fever and a heatwave… one way to cool off would be to dive into this Gold medal quality swimming pool MOC from Gary Davis (Bricks for Brains):
There are a variety of viewpoints to enjoy on his Flickr stream, plus I highly recommend his Gerry Anderson Thunderbirds Lego creations. And for those of you wanting to see this up close and personal The Olympic Pool can be seen in the Westfield Stratford Lego Store in London.
Gary is a member of the Brickish Association (UK Adult Fan of Lego user group).
Lego’s Architecture sets seem to be coming in rapid succession lately, with the Sydney Opera House announced just back in February. Now Lego has announced their latest set, 21013 Big Ben, giving some well-deserved microscale attention to a famous landmark previously only seen in the cartoonized world of Cars 2.
Big Ben, one of the UK’s most recognizable buildings and a global symbol of Victorian London and the Gothic Revival style, has been recreated as the latest set in the LEGO® Architecture series.
Big Ben, officially known as the Clock Tower, has stood at the north-eastern corner of the Palace of Westminster in London for more than 150 years. It was designed by the unlikely team of Classical architect Charles Barry and Gothic Revival pioneer Augustus Pugin and completed in 1859.
Big Ben is the fourteenth model in the LEGO Architecture range, which uses the LEGO brick to interpret the designs of iconic architecture around the world. It is the first model to be designed by Rok Zgalin Kobe from Slovenia who joins Adam Reed-Tucker as a LEGO architect.
“The most challenging in creating this model was representing the richness of 19th century Gothic Revival architecture in a scale usually more appropriate for modern or contemporary architecture of smooth surfaces and clean lines,” said Rok Zgalin Kobe.
Charles Barry won the competition to build the new Palace of Westminster in January 1836. His initial designs were without the clock tower that would become known as Big Ben. As his own style was more Classical than the increasingly popular Gothic Revival, Barry asked for assistance from Augustus Pugin, a leading light of the movement that left its indelible mark on the Victorian era around the world. The design of the interior of the palace and the clock tower are thought to be his work.
LEGO Architecture products features well-known buildings, and the work of important architects Aimed at inspiring future architects, engineers and designers as well as architecture fans around the world, the range contains a booklet featuring step-by-step building instructions that is prefaced by exclusive, archival history, information and photographs of each iconic building, its design origin, its architect and its architectural features.
The LEGO 21013 Big Ben is available for purchase from June 1 in LEGO brand retail stores, LEGOLAND Stores and online at http://shop.lego.com/. The product is designed for ages 12+ and includes a booklet with facts and history about Big Ben. Recommended retail price is $29.99 or €29.99.
For more information about LEGO Architecture visit http://architecture.lego.com/
LEGO Certified Professional Duncan Titmarsh of Bright Bricks (who was also involved in building James May’s LEGO house) recently led a project to create what is likely the world’s tallest LEGO Christmas tree at London’s St. Pancras train station.
Standing 38 feet (12 m) tall and built from 600,000 bricks, you can see the tree in person on the lower concourse at St. Pancras through January 2.
Thanks to all the readers who sent us links about this.
Update: Lots more pictures on The Verge.