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.
Good LEGO microscale buildings manage to capture the essence of their subject, but the very best also trick the eye into looking much bigger than they really are. Rocco Buttliere showcases his skills once more, this time tackling the UNESCO-listed Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence.
The real thing took 140 years to complete and is a masterpiece of Italian Gothic. Rocco’s version is a masterpiece of microscale, standing maybe only 20 bricks high, but somehow feeling much larger. That’s a testament to the level of detail packed into the model, the result of studs-in and studs-out building, and a great selection of parts, including two types of turntable bases, grille tiles, tooth bricks, Technic pins, and lightsaber hilts. Match all that with a beautifully captured dome, and a smart colour scheme, and you end up with a LEGO church which is fully worth of your praise.
Since the disastrous fire on April 15th, many LEGO fans have built their own renditions of Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. It comes as no surprise that the best rendition I’ve seen was built by Rocco Buttliere. Rocco, who has a penchant for recreating famed architectural landmarks of the world, got to work on this one immediately following the fire.
Not only did he build the cathedral itself, but he accurately reproduced the landscape around it: remove the building and this creation would still be a masterpiece. The curves of the river and roadways, the textured ground and gardens. I’m especially fond of the little details, like the old hinge tile used as bollards – magnifique! While the surroundings are definitely beautiful, we can’t ignore the church itself. While I might be satisfied to just recreate the shape of the building, Rocco has carefully detailed the structure’s ornate detail. Everything is here, from Gothic arches and rose windows to buttresses and even gargoyles. This is achieved through skillful use of the LEGO parts palette, using a wide variety of old and new pieces of all different types: Technic elements, textured bricks, and minifigure accessories. With this creation, Rocco has built a fitting tribute this wonderful landmark truly deserves.
Aptly named The Spiral, the towering extension of the elevated park High Line in Midtown Manhattan will be a stunning blend of modern architecture and green space when finished. While the real building is currently under construction, Rocco Buttliere has completed a LEGO version that uses an incredible amount of transparent clear and blue plates. I love the way the builder has alternated the orientation of the plates along the greenway to reflect the open-aired areas, drawing the outdoors in.
The Spiral has been designed by Danish architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group, who also designed the LEGO House museum in Billund
Located in South Dakota and finished in 1941, Mount Rushmore is one of the most iconic U.S. monuments. It depicts the busts of four famous American presidents, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. It’s an excellent candidate for modeling in LEGO, such as this beautiful microscale layout built by Rocco Buttliere. Rocco has gone the extra mile by building the visitor center, rows of state flags, and the surrounding terrain. It’s a sight to behold, and I bet it looks even more impressive in person.