You probably know Finland for a few things: sauna, northern lights, rally drivers, and Eero Okkonen. What you might not know is its propensity for excellent art nouveau architecture. And what better way to show that than with Eero’s fantastic, and enormous, model dubbed the Tampereen Pankki! Eero might be better known for his character models, but he’s clearly a dab hand at LEGO architecture too. This doesn’t depict a specific building, rather it’s an amalgamation of a few different bank buildings in Eero’s hometown of Tampere (hence Tampereen Pankki = Bank of Tampere). See, you’re even learning some Finnish thanks to this build!
Watching the Harry Potter films is somewhat of a holiday tradition for my family. Builder Castor Troy has surely seen the films plenty of times because his model of Gringotts bank is spot on. The size and bulk of the build match perfectly to the Minifigure Ron and Harry hanging out by the large front doors. The leaning columns that make the face of the bank so distinct are wonderfully captured. The dome capping it all off is actually Yavin-4 from the second series of the Star Wars Planets. I have to commend that parts usage due to its marbling of greens and gold. It perfectly matches the gold detailing around it and the bank as a whole. The architectural style of the building is well built, full of detail and prestige.
Harry and Ron are probably off to spend their holiday money amongst the shops of Diagon Alley. Hopefully, they get something practical in addition to the sweets, Quidditch gear, and joke supplies. Then again, it is Ron and Harry.
I love, love, love the big LEGO 75978 Diagon Alley. It got me through the first part of the pandemic. I do however have to admit that there is a big void in this set created by the missing Gringotts bank. The predecessor 10217 Diagon Alley did come with a Gringotts bank, but this one is of a much smaller scale compared to the buildings of the newer set. Stefan Johansson solved this problem for us. They created a larger-than-life Gringotts bank complete with a white marble facade, imposing columns, bronze doors, a track with little carts, underground vaults, and of course a dragon to protect all that gold. This build is ginormous. For the white facade, Stefan used a lot of white plates, instead of bricks, to create different patterns in the wall. You can hardly notice this from afar but this build is worthy of a quick zoom. There are a few parts that deserve a quick mention. The use of the hemisphere is quite clever. I’ll have to dig through my collection to see if I own it in that colour. Using the party hat in gold as a lightning rod is a very nice little touch that I might have to reuse at some point. This creation is filled with details and action features like the tracks. The carts actually work and the Goblins are just waiting to take you to your personal vault. Overall I love this build but I wouldn’t deposit my money there. It looks like they have a serious Niffler problem!
This latest creation by Andrew Tate brings some 1920s style to a staple modular of any LEGO city. Standing at four stories tall and topped with a clock tower, Andrew’s Art Deco bank has both the perfect color scheme and expertly designed architectural details. The light bluish gray concrete facade flaunts a variety of textures and geometric patterns, ranging from your standard 1×2 grille and log bricks to 1×1 pyramids and angled tiles. The use of SNOT with tiles achieves a sturdy look fit for a bank, while techniques like the slightly offset dark green cheese slope detailing and gold accents around the windows break that monotony.
Looking back, I spent a lot of time as a kid-builder hoarding the LEGO money and gems. Every shiny item either went into the good ol’ 2x2x2 container box or a brick-built safe. Of course, my safes were rainbow-colored and typically had a lid instead of a door, but hey, they got the job done. Building 10251 Brick Bank took me back to those days. But so many builds could use a good safe, not just a bank! Perhaps you have a mansion or a mobster hideout? If you need a little inspiration (or instructions) on how to build one, Tiago Catarino is your guy! One of his recent tutorials features this adorable little safe with plenty of storage for those gold bars, coins, and cash.
Click the link below to follow along with Tiago as he shows you how to build this sturdy hideaway.