10 amazing examples of architecture and design going Lego

From the Unité to the Defender, from the Trevi Fountain to Pac-Man, and through the now unavailable Architecture Studio, we trace the extensive history of affinity between Lego, architecture, and design.

From designing small “unité d’habitation” for the inhabitants of their imaginary worlds to creating elaborate plans for entire cities, Lego has been entertaining homes around the world for decades, inspiring generations of architects and designers. Many remember it as long afternoons spent in their bedrooms, while others have never stopped practicing. In 2008, Lego introduced the Architecture series for them and later expanded it with the new Icons line, giving people the opportunity to build faithful replicas of some of the most iconic buildings and vehicles of our time with their own hands.

Lego Architecture Studio - 21050. Courtesy Lego

Lego’s colorful brick kits encompass a wide range of cult objects and pop culture symbols of modernity, celebrating different aspects of humanity – from contemporary icons to dream cars, from architecture to film. On the same shelf, you can find Mies van der Rohe’s designs next to a pirate galleon and the Concorde.

The journey began in Chicago, Illinois, in collaboration with architect and artist Adam Reed Tucker. The first Lego architecture sets included the Willis Tower and the John Hancock Center, followed by the Empire State Building in New York and the Space Needle in Seattle. In 2011, Lego set its sights higher, aiming to conquer the sky by commemorating a dizzying record set by Adrian Smith. The Architecture series ventured beyond American skyscrapers for the first time, with a full-scale replica of the Burj Khalifa made from 208 bricks. Today, the expert creator collections in architecture are complemented by the Skyline series, which debuted in 2019 and featured miniature versions of cities like Venice, Tokyo, and many more.

Lego Architecture Ville Savoy - 21014. Courtesy Lego

However, the intersection of Lego bricks and architecture predates the Lego Architecture series. As early as 1962, the Kristiansen-based company introduced the “750 Lego Architecture Hobby and Model Box” series of kits as part of its “Scale Model” line. This collection was designed for people interested in building their own houses. The kit included sheets of graph paper customized to fit each Lego piece, a cardboard ruler with four different scales, and bags of assorted bricks.

A significant moment in Lego’s love story with architecture came about half a century later with the introduction of the Lego Architecture Studio kit. This set included 1,200 bricks and a 272-page instruction manual. Unlike traditional sets with specific instructions, the Architecture Studio kit encouraged free experimentation and creativity, providing only a few examples of designs from renowned studios such as Rex, SOM, and Sou Fujimoto. It offered enthusiasts the opportunity to explore and build their own creations, known as MOCs (My Own Creations).

Lego Icons Concorde – 10318. Courtesy Lego

Finally, in 2022, Lego introduced Icons, a collection that brings together various sets aimed at an adult audience, including the Lego Technic, Lego Ideas, and Lego Architecture series. Lego “icons” faithfully recreates a wide range of vehicles, architectural landmarks and spaceships. From the sleek curves of the 911 Porsche to the intricate details of the Land Rover Defender kit. Whether it’s iconic landmarks, cinematic wonders, space exploration, pop culture icons, luxury cars or architectural marvels, Lego offers specific sets for adults who want to continue building their passions.

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