A Visit to LEGO Architecture
Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 at 12:09am by Benjamin, BZPower Reporter
LEGO Certified Professional Adam Reed Tucker displays his work in D.C.
Admittance is $5 for a one-hour visit, though my friend Zack and I went on a weekday at the beginning of January while most schools were in session, making the place pretty empty and without worry of us being shuffled out at the turn of the next hour. Getting a good look at each model and taking pictures of them takes about a half-hour, but there is then a building area afterward in case you were inspired from looking at Tucker's work. Each skyscraper and building has many different techniques used and shows a clever design process.
The first thing you notice upon walking in is the Burj Khalifa, a building from Dubai. This model, standing at 17' 6”, takes the show, but the other works of art fall into focus soon after to break your trance. To the left is a rendition of one of the World Trade Center towers, and directly ahead is John Hancock Building and Empire State Building. To the right of the entrance is Marina City, twin buildings that have quite a nice spiral at their base.
There were also nice signs at each model giving statistics about the building in real life and the one in brick-form in the room.
Continuing past Marina City is a wide and intricate display of the Fallingwater building. Taking a close look at the walls will show just how good Tucker is with details and piece usage, making this, and many more of his works, more than just a model. Following Fallingwater is the Transamerica Pyramid, where one can just wonder how such a slope was made so perfectly. To the left is The White House—or rather an outline of the residence that allows the viewer to look inside at the building structure for the model. Sort of like getting into the mind of Tucker as he focuses on making sure each of his works will look interesting and not fall over. (The Gatewar Arch was unfortunately absent when we visited.)
This design tactic can be seen clearly on the Trump Tower Chicago and Jin Mao Towers, as Tucker has left out a portion of windows, allowing a glimpse inside to see just how structurally stable these models are. The Sears Tower also takes advantage of this, as does Marina City.
Right next to the Sears Tower is 7 South Dearborn, a highly-transparent piece that takes advantage of the sunlight coming in from the window it sits next to. The Chicago Spire follows suit, though its shape looks even more impressive than the way it reflects sunlight. The twist of this tower shows what a skilled building Tucker is, for when looked up at close one can see that the hinge pieces used are quite common. It is the details like this and elsewhere in the display that make Tucker's creations stand out.
Scattered about the room are little signs saying “Did you know?”, each presenting an amusing fact about The LEGO Group and their bricks. Also seen are some inspirational and special quotes from architects and builders from around the world, including one from Tucker himself. On the wall right at the front door is a big sign welcoming one to the exhibit and explaining a bit of Tucker's life and building style.
Finally, at the end of the exhibit there is are tables filled with troughs of bricks, where children and adults alike can build a feat of architecture after having seen such amazing skyscrapers. There is even a landscape set up to place your house or office building, or whatever else you build, after, adding it to a small LEGO-sized city.
Zack and I built a neat tower which probably ate up their supply of black 2x8 bricks, but it turned out pretty nice. We were sure to add internal structure and stability so it would stay standing, and were quite proud of the creation.
In the end, the $5 was worth being able to oooh and aahh at some professional MOCs up close and then build with a large LEGO collection. It is something for the whole family and makes a nice afternoon getaway.
The National Building Museum's webpage on the exhibit can be found here, and more photos by me on by BrickShelf here.
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