If you’re not a fan of stage performances, but still want to go on a world tour, the new LEGO Architecture sets may find themselves on your 2020 shopping list. Two new sets, 21051 Tokyo Skyline and 21052 Dubai Skyline have just been revealed by Polish retailer Remix Kaja. It’s not the first theme’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, as 2016 saw 21031 Burj Khalifa set. This time, the tallest skyscraper in the world is surrounded by a number of other world-famous buildings. Unlike Dubai, this is the first appearance of the Tokyo landmarks in the LEGO theme. Naturally, the Tokyo Tower and Mount Fuji are here along with other Japanese symbols — both architectural and natural. We expect both sets to be available in stores early January 2020.
Don’t miss the rest of the LEGO lineup for 2020:
Click to check out all the new LEGO Architecture sets
I love winning. Nothing quite compares to the thrill of victory, whether that is beating your friends at a casual game of Scrabble or annihilating your four-year-old son in an epic basketball throwdown where you channel prime Wilt on a six-foot net. John Snyder loves winning, too, and also loves seeing the bad guys lose. In his latest massive diorama, John depicts the forces of the wicked Desert King, a resurrected mummy-wizard, being routed by the armies of good Queen Ylspeth. I haven’t seen this many mummies running away since Brendan Fraser was a major Hollywood star, and it looks great. Everywhere you look, there are highly detailed buildings, ornate arches, intricate domes, meticulously-laid streets, and more.
See more of Al Tajir here
Growing up, I was lucky to have one of LEGO’s early sets in the castle theme, 375 Castle, which, along with several classic space sets catapulted my LEGO building creativity to a whole new level. And it seems I am not alone in my nostalgic feelings for this set. Galaktek has built a LEGO model inspired by this set, featuring a central section, with four hinged wings that open up for further play and display options. This one perfectly represents feudal Japan with an arched front gate, very detailed stone foundations and vegetation, and a lovely pagoda with ornate gold details.
And if this castle mash-up feels familiar, it’s for a good reason. You may have seen this model in person if you were in Seattle for Brickcon 2019 in early October, where the builder had several castles all built as an homage to the original castle LEGO set. We also covered another of these castle mash-ups recently here on TBB.
There are several ways to relieve stress; meditation, good diet, adjusting your jazz intake from acid to smooth. Or you can take a gander at Sarah Beyer’s Artsand House and imagine yourself relaxing among the many verandas and green spaces. See, don’t you feel better already? Sarah tells us that to engage in this house is to flirt with Brutalism. (We’ve all been there, right?) All kidding aside, her meaning has nothing to do with batting eyelashes at someone who might be a toxic thug. Brutalism, in architectural terms, is a style of building that emerged in the 1950s and is characterized by imposing monolithic concrete slabs and rigid, often cold geometry. This style works effectively with courthouses, police stations, town halls, prisons, often big municipal buildings of importance but rarely do we state that Brutalism can describe a relaxing and lovely home. But in Sarah’s hands, this is the case.
Click here to see more of the house.
Sometimes we build things that we’re just not that into. Kevin Peeters tells us he’s not entirely happy with this Burac Keep but we like it. Maybe it’s just the spirit of Halloween talking, maybe it’s the build techniques, the crumbling, haphazard bricks or maybe it’s because this is just the kind of thing you’d see in New England on a brisk Autumn night. Or maybe it’s because we know a good thing when we see it. But we like this; we like it a lot. Here’s another time we totally liked something Kevin did.
We’re big fans of the stylish architectural LEGO creations of Swedish builder Sarah Beyer. She has a knack of turning our favourite plastic building material into classy modern homes we’d love to live in. On top of the undoubted building skill on display, the presentation of the models is always immaculate. This image of her newest build is a case in point. It showcases the use of textured bricks and tiles to create a smooth-yet-detailed look, and the quality photography is reminiscent of imagery you’d find in a high-end homestyling magazine. Who wouldn’t want to spend a few hours lounging in those chairs, enjoying a cup of tea and taking in the garden view? Lovely.
When laying out my list of things I would love to build someday from LEGO bricks, a shopping mall would be far down the list. Just kidding, it would not make the list. Malls are good for one thing, in my opinion, and that is serving as locations for LEGO stores. However, if a shopping mall wanted someone to build a LEGO version of it, and was paying for it, I’d be all over that. And that is what happened for architectural wizard Rocco Buttliere. He built this stunning layout of the Hawthorn Mall, showing the expansion that they are planning to do with mixed use commercial/residential units. It looks sleek and epic, and dare I say sexy, despite being a mall.
See details of the mall below
When building with LEGO, one of the more frustrating things is when the bricks just don’t seem to line up right. Oh, sure, LEGO has amazing interlocking technology built in, and that helps. But when you’re trying to do something fancy with half-stud offsets or SNOT, sometimes those joins are a little less than static. El Barto has taken this pain point and turned it into something lovely with their rendition of the David E. and Stacey L. Goel Center for Theater and Dance at Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH. Built with meticulous attention to detail, the walls use a repetitive mis-alignment to create a zig-zag pattern that matches the textures of the real building. Even better, the whole build sits askew on the display stand, mirroring those interesting angles.
The sides and back of the building also have that great texturing. The rest of the landscaping is also well executed, with brick-built trees and curving walkways.
If you’d like to see it in person, this creation will be on display in the lobby of the Goel Center for the remainder of the academic year. I just wonder if the display table is also at an angle…
One of my favorite creators of LEGO modern architecture, Sarah Beyer, is equally skilled at both minifig scale and microscale, as evident in her latest tiny model, Whitesalt Villa. This modern structure is defined by the unusual use of an arch piece, which has some very interesting circles on the underside. Sarah continues this visual theme with a single brick with technic pin hole over the entrance. The angled placement of the building and the water feature have a very tranquil effect.
If there’s one thing that sets today’s LEGO elements apart from those of the past, it’s the wide range of bright colors found in modern sets; they expand upon the original LEGO primary color palette with stunning diversity. Many of these colors are only available for a limited assortment of parts. This digital model by Pau Padrós uses some great new parts like this brick with a half arch first released in 71043 Hogwarts Castle, and this rounded brick in colors LEGO has not released yet, but we can hope that maybe someday, they will. The model features an angled facade and plenty of unconventional construction that orients the LEGO stud in several directions within a single structure.
Libraries are more than book repositories; they also provide educational services and activities for their surrounding communities. Thanks to Łukasz Libuszewski’s, the little citizens of LEGOLAND can now enjoy everything a library has to offer. It looks both modern and inviting, complete with enough glass to let the sunshine in. The library sports a modular design, in which sections can be removed to reveal the service desk and bookshelves. Especially impressive is the motorized glass elevator. Be sure to watch Łukasz’ video to view the library from all angles, the interior and elevator in action. You might even want to sign up for a library card!
Author Frank Herbert was first inspired to write the epic Dune novels by the sandy dunes on the Oregon coast in the United States. As a struggling sci-fi writer early in his career, it seems doubtful that Herbert would have had the means to live in such a wonderfully architected home as this exquisite LEGO house among the dunes by Sarah Beyer. Sarah’s house features stone walls built from plates, plus geometric white sections and a garage door built on its side. The square stone arch at the roofline is particularly striking.
The landscaping around the home is no less noteworthy, with an irregular base that looks exactly like sand spilling all around the base of the structure and scrubby plants rooted in the loose soil.
And be sure to check out all the other LEGO Architecture by Sarah that we’ve featured previously.