One of my favorite things about San Francisco is its architecture. Though shops have closed and the streets are nearly empty, some of the city’s most vibrant buildings still stand. Just off Market Street, you’ll find the Castro Theatre, whose majesty has been translated into LEGO by Jonathan Lopes. Since 1922, the Castro Theatre has hosted everything from queer cinema to silent film festivals at the center of San Francisco’s vibrant arts scene and historic LGBTQ+ district. Like in Jonathan’s model, you can’t miss its iconic neon signage and stunning Spanish-Baroque facade.
You’ve probably never seen the Golden Gate like this before – so minimal and so orange. Simon Liu really gives us the essence of the iconic bridge down at micro-scale with this LEGO model.
Liu renders San Francisco and Marin County using a variety of light brown slopes and tiles. The star of the build – the bridge itself is comprised of 1×4 tiles, minifigure hands, and binoculars all in a lovely orange color; the use of these parts is clever indeed. The micro-build as a whole sits on some trans-clear blue tiles, which serve as the strait connecting San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Although it is a minimal micro-scale build, this model certainly conveys the idea of the revered structure very well.
Since 2002, Spencer_R has been wanting to build the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco. One key thing held them back; they were stymied by the lack of the perfect part. (A feeling that is familar to many LEGO builders, I’m sure.) Flash forward to 2017 and the release of the 1×1 plate with a printed square pattern, part of the 70620 Ninjago City set. Then flash forward another year or two, as Spencer needed a whopping 1040 of them to complete the build. The end result is 1/650th scale version that is both a labor of love and a treat for the eyes.
Beyond the highly accurate recreation of the shape of the tower, Spencer has also faithfully reproduced many other details. At the base of the tower the park contains redwood trees made from flower stems, a fence of 1×2 grilled tiles, and a 1×1 round plate standing in for the fountain. There’s even a cafe pavilion overlooking the park grounds.
Be sure to check out the full album on flickr for even more close up details, build commentary, and a great overview of the history and features of the real building.
There are lots of people making their own versions of the LEGO Architecture city skylines. This is especially the case with a new contest on LEGO Rebrick. One hopeful builder, Felix (saabfan2013), could certainly be a top contender with his recreation of San Francisco.
In addition to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Felix included several other important landmarks. They are the Palace of Fine Arts, Salesforce Tower, Coit Tower, and Transamerica Pyramid. He also built an adorable row of houses with a tiny trolley car.