LEGO released 10182 Cafe Corner in 2007, setting a new standard for large-scale modular buildings. Since then, LEGO has continued to release new structures in the modular building series — 10190 Market Street, 10185 Green Grocer, 10197 Fire Brigade, 10211 Grand Emporium, 10218 Pet Shop, and 10224 Town Hall as of 2012. Meanwhile, LEGO fans have adopted the “Cafe Corner standard” and built hundreds and hundreds of beautiful buildings that fit with the official sets. See some of the best here on The Brothers Brick.
With the closure of shops and buildings, it’s been difficult for some builders to find their architectural inspiration. However, some have found ways to avoid that awful builder’s block. Drawing from both imagination and inspiration from Google Maps’ street view of Amsterdam, Thomas van Urk (aka Utanapishtim, aka Thomassio) has created yet another marvelous city modular. As always, this corner building looks incredibly clean and packed with architectural detail. Its dark tan facade is textured with masonry bricks, with a good balance of light gray bullions in its trim. The symmetry in the building overall is also incredibly satisfying to look at, not to mention the beautiful accented dark red windows at the front.
There are times when a LEGO fan starts building, gets into the groove of things, then finds it hard to stop. Especially when the build is a small street that keeps growing with each mini modular building placed on it. When I (Mansur “Waffles” Soeleman) attended my LUG‘s (LondonAFOLs) monthly meet-up via Zoom, the theme was mini modular buildings. Every year since 2007, LEGO released a large modular building, each of which can be arranged into a street layout. As a fifth anniversary to the lineup, LEGO created a microscale version of the first few buildings. I started to build a micro modular for the meet-up, and then I couldn’t help but build more. A few days after the meet-up, I ended up with a whole street.
When you think of a small-town hardware store during Christmas, this has to be what you think of. At least, this is the exact image that comes to my mind. Excellent at architecture and storytelling, the Midwest Builders have struck again with a modular worthy of LEGO store shelves. The line of detailed buildings is in dire need of a hardware store, and this fits the bill perfectly. If we were looking at images of the newest release, it’d be at the top of my Christmas wish list.
Start off the day by taking a stroll through the colonnade, grab a croissant and magazine from the newspaper stand, then head down to the underground metro. Now I could spend an endless amount of time imagining that I’m walking around in this LEGO modular row by Jean Macou. This delightful set of buildings is like Parisian Restaurant meets Assembly Square, but with an unlimited budget. Each building is more decked out than the next. Some of my favorite details include the gold and nougat color palette on the pub and small restaurant at the front. I’ve also been eyeing that sand green masonry brick building to the right and its gorgeous white trim and tan ground floor.
Remove the floors to peek into the detailed interiors of the build. Here’s an inside look of the pub– its layout and color scheme achieve a next-level realism for architectural builds.
The Enchanted Diamond by Maxim Baybakov is a LEGO ode to “studs not on top” construction. The entire front façade is based on a very clever inversion of arch bricks with lovely insets of 2×2 turntable bases. I’m also fond of the column that flank the lower windows. The unusual texture there is thanks to Technic gearshift connectors. The roof has a great technique as well, with layers of dark blue 2×2 and diagonal tiles forming an intricate pattern. The end result is very upscale, as befits a high-end shop.
Maxim also creates a nice little story with the minifigures – it looks like someone is busy casing the joint. It might be easier to just follow along behind the other folks and pick up their costly litter…
Maxim is well on the way to building the perfect downtown district. The Enchanted Diamond would look great nestled between the barber shop and bookshop.
There’s a new build in town and it’s got it all! This LEGO saloon and hotel by Thomas Gion features plenty of interior details, cool techniques, and some sweet brick-built signage. We have “SALOON” in the classic Modular theme font and “HOTEL” in a distinctively Western-style serif font, complete with embellishing and everything. On the facade, the sideways log brick technique works wonders as wood-paneled walls. Thomas also has a water trough made of a translucent blue glass window. There’s also a water pump made of a crowbar and bar holder connection on top of a Technic connector spout. In addition to the neat details at the front of this build, it is fully furnished on the inside.
The floors and walls are detachable for maximum playability. The angled saloon doors look perfectly integrated into the build even with the upper floor removed, with the help of some wedge plates and triangular tiles. A SNOT tile technique is used for the wall frames, creating a very clean-cut appearance. I’m also impressed by the level of detail crammed into the hotel rooms, including ceiling to floor curtains and a mounted deer head.
Here is an up-close look of the saloon furnishing, though it’s not quite the same without the hustle and bustle of its daily customers.
Feeling the itch to go on a road trip? Take a ride through our archives for some more Western-inspired builds!
Reminding all of us how baristas at coffee shops like Starbucks bring a sense of normalcy each day in difficult times, Korean LEGO builder Oh So Jang has built a wonderful Starbucks with a drive-through and detailed interior, based on a real-life Starbucks in Korea.
San Francisco’s most famous painted lady on Broderick Street is the inspiration for this brick-built modular constructed by Cowie, a builder who generally tends to create modular buildings, some influenced by pop culture. Scenes and music from the opening credits of the popular sitcom “Full House” and its recent Netflix sequel “Fuller House” fill my head while looking at this beautiful architectural recreation. While this house is an actual residence in San Francisco that has undergone some remodeling since the television show aired (the door is currently forest green), Cowie stays true to the original image of the building from the 1980s by featuring a red door in her building.
The painted ladies are named such because they are Victorian houses that have been repainted in three or more colors which accentuate their architectural features, Cowie’s modular building accurately renders these features with her white brick-built columns and pilasters – hallmarks of Italianate-style Victorian houses. This LEGO creation definitely has the nostalgia factor built into it — it’s a real treat to be able to see such an iconic and memorable structure at a scale that both builders and minifigures can enjoy.
Some people shave their heads and then shed a tear while gazing in the mirror because the option of having cool Johnny Depp hair has long since expired. Allegedly. Shut up, don’t judge. Other people, like Maxim Baybakov have better experiences with haircuts and visit the same barbershop for twenty years. He liked his local barbershop so much he has recreated it in LEGO. He tells us the balcony still haunts him to this day. Why? He doesn’t provide the answer but I can only presume it was an incident that involved a freshly coiffed haircut and someone dumping hot oil or a pot of soup or something. No matter why the balcony haunts him, admittedly, the build techniques are pretty stellar. The inset tan storefront, the roof, and the round window are also quite charming.
It’s not quite instructions, but this shot offers sort of an exploded view that illustrates some of the more clever techniques for this build. With a little time and patience, this balcony can haunt you as well.
2020 has arrived and the floodgates of LEGO have opened with 153 new sets available today. Fans of Star Wars, Technic, Ninjago, City, Architecture, Creator 3-in-1 and even the new Trolls product line have a lot to choose from. The new modular Bookstore is available today as is a new white baseplate. Nearly every LEGO theme has some new sets–it can be a lot to process!– so we have your complete guide right here detailing each and every new set and item.
Some regions have seen these sets on shelves already, but now they are all available online. There are a few sets that really stand out to us, and you can see the complete list of all 153 sets and items after the jump.
The new Creator modular comes out January first and, while this is exciting news, the general consensus is that it is rather plain. That would not have been said if this creation by Joshua were the new modular instead. This Dancing Modular is part Dancing House by Frank Gehry and Vlado Milunić, part Krzywy Domek and part funhouse mirror. The dizzying, sweeping windows juxtaposed against curving transparent balconies is a compelling sight to behold, and the garden roof terrace brings a bit of nature to what otherwise might be forboding architectural chaos.
The interior boasts some brightly lit, yet quaint, well-appointed spaces such as this one. Continue reading →