When I was a kid, I’d comb through huge boxes of LEGOs to find the perfect piece for whatever I was working on — a two-floor Miami condo, an epic fighting robot, a replica of the Mona Lisa (or not). Today, I’m a little embarrassed I still have huge boxes of LEGOs at home (DON’T JUDGE ME) but now they’ve made the blocks adult-life-relevant.
LEGO Architecture Studio is a 1200-brick set in monochromatic white. It comes with a 272-page guide full of design exercises that actual architects use to develop their aesthetic sensibility. Yes, playing with LEGOs is a job, and not just for the company’s own designers. You can follow the instructions or just throw the book out the window and build whatever you want, which was eight-year-old me’s preferred way of doing things. Here’s what I would suggest you make (WARNING: This does not replace six years of architecture school).
1. The New Museum
This is an easy way to start, because the entire building by SANAA is basically just a few white blocks stacked on top of each other. If you can’t do this, you fail LEGO architecture university.
2. The Bauhaus School
An iconic works of modernist architecture as well as the crucible where the style started, the Bauhaus school, designed by Walter Gropius, would make a good second challenge. Bonus points for doing the lettering on the facade.
3. Melting Polar Ice Caps
The LEGO book prompts you to explore abstraction with your bricks. What better way than modeling the chunky icebergs that are slowly crumbling and falling into the ocean, drowning the planet? Your creation doesn’t even have to stay together; In fact, it’s better if it doesn’t.
4. A Scale Model of David Byrne
If you’ve seen former Talking Head David Byrne around New York City, you’ve likely seen his shock of white hair and habitual white clothes. Make a life-size version of Byrne, and you’ll be a true LEGO master.
5. A Sol Lewitt Sculpture
If you got this far, you’re ready for the real stuff. Sol Lewitt was a minimalist artist known for his sculptures that grow and progress formulaically. The intricate, branching geometric structures will give Frank Gehry a run for his money (curves are so early 2000s, bro).
Check out the full book for LEGO’s Architecture Studio here.