Lego are particularly good at reproducing (with startling accuracy) classic architectural works. The Empire State Building, Fallingwater, and, amongst others, the one I’ve been eyeing up for a while - the 4,287 piece Tower Bridge model.
So when I discovered that Icon Magazine had invited a group of British architects to ‘remake’ some of these models the opportunity to check out the results was just too good to miss.
Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect behind Falling Water, once said that “stone is the mass residue of intense heat”. Atmos Studio have drawn on this quote as inspiration with their entry in creating “Meltingwater”, baking the model in the oven for 20 minutes until it started to melt, reminiscent of the water in the original.
It is said that the slabs of rough rock throughout the flooring in Fallingwater were intended to be cut flush with the floor, but as a client request they were left to remember the origin of the rock from its surroundings. AOC have used the same idea in synthesis in combining available materials and memories from what they had to hand in the studio – Lego’s 6080 King’s Castle from 1984, remodeled with new integrity.
DSDHA took the approach of a “conservation-meets-contemporary-architecture solution”, raising the already recognisable Rockefeller Centre a further 20 storeys up into the Manhattan skyline. As the new ‘tallest tower in town’ it allows for commercial space, and increased residential skyscrapers offering one of the more practical entries to this Lego challenge!
A slight modification to the original saw Adjaye Associates turn the world famous White House into, well, the Silver House. Allowing the familiar architectural facade to remain, they propose taking the remaining structure and building it below into a simple cube, “a pure impenetrable form”! Very futuristic.
FAT (Fashion Architecture Taste) have transformed the iconic Fallingwater into an entirely unrecognisable “Falling Acre City”. Laid out in a rigid grid it offers organisation and structure. Each piece, or ‘element’ of the city, represents anything from a large ‘megastructure’ (their word, not mine) to the much smaller single room units. The order to the city comes as you may notice, as the buildings become progressively less dense as you move from north to south, which in an ordered world could help give you a sense of relative positioning should you lose your bearings.
“Fallingwater was designed to be fully integrated with nature, so that the house and the human experience of it change and evolve with each season; it is almost a living, breathing entity.” That’s exactly what Make have achieved with this model, emphasising their philosophy of architecture being allowed to move with changing times.
Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners have thought typically outside the box, bringing together the two Lego models of Fallingwater and the Empire State Building in the fusion of a “mixed-use development”. If you can’t see the Empire State Building within the model, it’s because it has been inverted to provide shade to lower spaces whilst increasing floor space up above. Rather proudly they have used all pieces from both models to provide a building that offers you somewhere to live and work, even down to the signage forming a rotating sail to power the building. Yes that’s right, even Lego can be sustainable.
All photos by Peter Guenzel.