Ever since I can remember I have loved Lego. Building parts of a gigantic city made out of brightly coloured bricks has been a part of my life since I was 4 years old.
Last night the BBC aired The Culture Show: The Building Block of Architecture, hosted by Tom Dyckhoff, from the Great Interior Design Challenge. The programme was insightful and without it I don’t know how long it would have taken me to realise the connection between real world architecture and the toy I grew up with.
Featured in the programme is Bjarke Ingels ; a Lego inspired architect who uses Lego as “a 3D sketch tool”. Ingels is a well-respected architect and has worked on many high profile projects.
His project Zira Island, Azerbaijan is a carbon neutral resort and residential development. The development uses solar panels, photovoltaic cells (technology that converts light directly in to electricity), waste water and rainwater. The design of the development is based upon the landscape of the area; it has what looks like mountain peaks to mimic the mountain range of the region.
Ingels has also had the privilege of designing the “Lego House” in Billund, Denmark the building, shaped like a stack of Lego bricks, is to incorporate exhibition areas, a café and retails areas. The plans were unveiled in 2013 and is planned to be built this year and is expected to attract 250,000 visitors per year.
Closer to home the programme depicted No.1 Poultry in Cheapside, London as a Lego inspired building. The architect James Stirling took on the project in 1988 and the building was constructed in 1997. The building is an amalgam of geometry and materials; most notable are the bands of pink and yellow limestone which run around the whole building.
Today there are 9000 types of different bricks available in varying different colours, shapes and sizes. The Lego Company has made the link between architecture and their product base now reflects this. Available to buy now because of this realisation is the ‘Architecture’ series of Lego sets for well-known buildings like Big Ben, The Empire State Building and Brandenburg Gate and the Architecture Studio which is a set compromising 1200 Lego bricks and an inspiration book for budding architects.
The programme reported that in 2019 there will be more Lego mini-figures on the Earth then human people. What an exciting prospect!