Review: 21037 LEGO House

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View image at flickr

In the latest transatlantic joint review, Huw and I will take a look at the newest Architecture set, 21037 LEGO House. Huw is the photographer and is the primary author, while I'm providing the colour commentary.

For followers of LEGO, you know that the LEGO House in Billund, Denmark, opened its doors to paying customers for the first time last Friday. This LEGO House Architecture set is available exclusively from the brand store at the house which is first LEGO brand store in Billund (and it's about time!).

It's one thing to see the building in pictures, but quite another to see it in person in the centre of Billund. It is - there's no other word for it - stunning. Will the 21037 LEGO House be as inspiring as the real thing?


The building

The building's unique and interesting form can be observed from the ground but it's really from the air that you can truly appreciate it, as this aerial shot from Simon Lucas on Twitter shows:

Architect Bjarke Ingels, himself a LEGO fan, said he wanted to create a 'cloud of interlocking LEGO bricks... a literal manifestation of the infinite possibilities of the LEGO brick' and I would say that he's been successful.


The box and instructions

The box is much like that of all Architecture sets: black, high quality and not destroyed on opening.

At the fan pre-opening event Huw had his set signed by set designer Rok Zgalin Kobe and Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen. I didn't get to the store until later in the afternoon, so was only able to get it signed by Rok.

View image at flickr

In my brief conversation with Rok, he asked if I was a fan of the Architecture sets. I answered yes, and that I really enjoyed the skyline sets that have been coming out. Rok said that they were originally his idea, so I made a quick plea to have San Francisco (where I live) featured as a skyline. Rok didn't make any promises, but I have a feeling we may see a San Francisco skyline sometime in the future.

Inside the box there are six unnumbered bags, four 6x12 dark grey plates and the perfect bound instruction book.

The first several pages of the instruction booklet outlines the history of the LEGO House, some pictures during construction and several artist renderings of the final building. Throughout the instructions there are facts inserted about the building, such as the amount of concrete used for the basement and that the surfaces of the terraces are made from a waste stream from sneaker production.View image at flickr


Construction

The base for the building takes the form of an asymmetrical cross. It's almost fully tiled, both inside and outside the building.

The base is constructed across 33 building steps to help ensure it's built without error. Nevertheless that didn't stop Huw placing a 1x2 plate where a tile should have been that wasn't spotted until much later. (This would be one of the reasons that Huw took pictures for this review. He's a better photographer, but my mistakes in building came so much earlier in the instructions!)

View image at flickr

The eight ground floor rooms are added next, along with the main staircase, complete with the tree of creativity in the middle.

Extensive use is made of thin wall pieces such as the new 1x3 one, and 2x2 corner, on the tops, into which a 3x3 or two 2x3 plates are placed at a half-stud offset to mount the coloured tiles on top, a technique that has been used on other Architecture models. The actual LEGO House exterior features white tiles that meant to look like LEGO bricks, so obviously the thin wall pieces are perfect for this use.

View image at flickr

Next, the eight first floor blocks are added as individual subassemblies,.There is something very meta about building blocks of a building that represent LEGO bricks out of LEGO bricks. Indeed, I found several instances of parts usage really interesting, particularly in the floor sections. For example, there are times when two 1x1 tiles are used next to each other someplace where a 1x2 tiles could have been used. However, using the two tiles makes for a better effect in representing the building.

View image at flickr

The first floor rooms are held on by just a few studs and can be removed should you wish. I found while building that while they can be removed easily, you also have to be sure that you've pressed on them enough so that they properly connect to the rooms underneath.

View image at flickr

The second floor rooms are built as a single sub-assembly.

View image at flickr

Finally, the 2x4 brick at the top that houses the masterpiece gallery is constructed, complete with round skylights in the studs.

View image at flickr


The completed model

When you view the real house it's easy to see that it's formed from blocks -- 21 of them, in fact -- but hard to appreciate how they are all interconnected and stacked. This is particularly true when you're in inside the House, where many sections naturally flow into each other. However, when you build this set it all becomes apparent: eight blocks on the ground floor, eight on the first, four on the second, then the 2x4 brick keystone at the top.

Our estimate is that there are 17 different coloured LEGO elements in the set, which might be some sort of record.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

Just like when viewing the real building, not much of its colour is apparent from ground level. The main entrance is to the left of the yellow stepped terrace, the brand store is underneath it.

One of the things I found surprising in the set was the number of clear tiles and plates, which obviously represented windows. I didn't remember so many windows at the House, but pictures of the day remind me that clearly there are. I think it's because all my attention was focused inward that I really didn't pay attention to the windows. However, the entire atmosphere of the House is very light and airy and the use of the clear bricks throughout the build does a good job of demonstrating that.View image at flickr

View image at flickr

It's not often that Architecture sets are given much of an interior and while this one is not exactly bursting with details it does nevertheless convey the sense of space and openness of the real building. Not only is the Tree of Creativity featured in the model, so is some extra greenery featured in the main atrium area. (Pictures of the real thing forthcoming in future LEGO House articles)

View image at flickr

Here you can see how the central staircase has been constructed, on top of clear plates.

View image at flickr

The asymmetrical and LEGO-like design of the building is very apparent in these views from above.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

The colours of the terraces closely match those on the real building.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr


Verdict

This is quite simply the best Architecture set ever: just like the real building, it's colourful and eye-catching, yet clean and contemporary.

Of course, it's a terrific souvenir of the visit, but I would really encourage building the set should you buy it. Even though we have signed sets, neither Huw or I have any regrets opening our sets and building them. I found the building experience a great opportunity to relive the experiences in each area of the House - remembering each of the Experience Zones, walking through the Masterpiece Gallery, among others - all while building each of those features. In that respect it's a shame that the basement of the House isn't included in this model, as that's a pretty spectacular feature as well. In fact, I'd venture to say that the building experience wouldn't quite be the same unless you've visited the House.

We think this may be the most beautiful LEGO set ever.

View image at flickr

There are a myriad of reasons why you should visit the LEGO House: being able to buy this set as a memento of your visit is just one of them.

We'll be writing more about our visit to the house in the coming weeks.

39 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Amazing set

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By in United Kingdom,

What's the RRP on this?

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By in United Kingdom,

449DKK, about £50.

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By in Germany,

Can I ask what the box dimensions are - Need to leave room in my case when I go over in a couple of weeks!!

Also - Are there any restrictions on the number of sets you can buy - I would like one to open, one to keep and one for a colleague !!

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By in United Kingdom,

Bargain. Was going to pick up on eBay but that they are extortionately priced. Thanks Huw

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By in United States,

That is so awesome!!! now i really want it.

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By in United Kingdom,

Great review! I looked and thought I saw 18 different colours (including trans-clear), so I checked the online instructions and there seems to be 20!

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By in United States,

well, Ed sheeran's happy

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By in United Kingdom,

I've already got the only piece you cannot buy, the LEGO HOUSE name plate from the first Lego house set (going for £39 on Amazon now), then buy the pieces you need off Lego.com for around £35 so a complete set if you will for under £75 which is 4-5x cheaper than Ebay.

It's cheaper to reuse the parts from the first Lego house if you want but I wanted both side by side (albeit one without the name plate).

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By in Canada,

I get why they want it exclusive however many of us will never get to Billund. It is a really nice set and find it frustrating that it is not more readily available. I love the architecture sets and would like to own this as well. Sadly doesn't look like a possibility.

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By in United Kingdom,

Possibly the first building ever built with the lego set in mind? Really nice set, the architecture series has gone from strength to strength in recent years after a pretty unimpressive start IMO, I'll get there one day I'm sure

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By in United Kingdom,

I built my model a few days ago, although I didn't obtain mine through buying it at Lego house or through Ebay etc. As soon as the set news was released here at Brickset I sourced all the needed parts for the build through Bricklink and have had the parts for at least a week and a half. The hardest part to find was the 1x2 jumper in the light yellow colour. In total I spent around £85-90 on the parts (including the name plate) and well worth it indeed. Compared to the original white Lego House Architecture set they use similar building techniques but on a bigger scale. Having seen the pictures of the House in Billund, Lego designers have certainly captured the amazing shape and style of the building. As for the construction of the model, It seemed a little bitty and complex compared to some models and you don't really see how it is going to come together. But as you move through the instructions you construct segments of the building and it slowly comes together cleverly in a sequence so that you have a removable top. For me as a collector of the Factory sets given to employees as gifts, I would have liked to have seen some trees or something represented in the grounds of the model but that's just me and it doesn't detract from a great model. A great set though and recommend the model if you can get your hands on it!!

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By in United States,

I still have yet to ask my buddy who works for BIG if he had a hand in the design of this building but I'm hoping if he ends up with this set he'll gladly send it my way. :-) Thanks for the review!

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By in United Kingdom,

Box is 26 x 19 x 9 cm -- deeper than most Architecture sets.

@luke1979, that is commendable, but it would have been cheaper to fly Ryanair from Stanstead and buy it at retail.

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By in Canada,

Anyone nice enough to buy an extra copy and ship it to Canada. I know I won't be heading to Europe in the foreseeable future.

This set is probably going to be like the Marina Bay Sands.

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By in Sweden,

Finally a set exclusive to Scandinavia, the USA has been so lucky with exclusive sets from SDCC and NYCC :-)

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By in Sweden,

@tallblocktoo I completley understand your point. Imagine how us Europeans feel with all the exclusives you got across the pond. Who knows, this might end up as a widely set in the future but for now TLG wants it as a attraction thing to gather visitors :)

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By in Sweden,

Someone living in Billund could make a fortune starting a Bricklink store just to sell these on to people around the world.

I genuinely hope that they, at some point, start selling this via the website too. It's fine to keep it exclusive for a while, but not forever. It's such a small fraction of LEGO fans who can go to Billund, it'd be terrible to deny all those people the chance to buy this.

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By in Poland,

No, please, it looks so boring that it almost hurts... The price is obviously ridiculous, assuming someone can obtain it in the first place. Still, I understand its potential for collectors of Architecture sets... I'd buy it anyway were I one of them.

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By in United States,

Just tested it out at pick a brick and about 33 parts aren't available there (mostly the colors)

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By in United States,

This is my favorite theme. l really wanna get one of these.

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By in Austria,

Going next summer! Will it still be available???

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By in Netherlands,

I understand the factors that make it appealing but "We think this may be the most beautiful LEGO set ever."?... Maybe I'd need to visit/experience the real thing to fully appreciate the set.

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By in United States,

I can’t wait for the Lepin House to be available lmao...

This looks to be a beautiful set, and I do hope that it becomes available everywhere else later on.

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By in United States,

I'm going to respectfully submit Parisian Restaurant as the most beautiful set ever ;-)

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By in Canada,

Lets see a poll on the most beautiful Lego set ever. Frankly I'm not even sure where one would begin with the say top ten as I think opinion would be wide ranging but would be interesting to see.

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By in Germany,

I'd also like to chime in about
"We think this may be the most beautiful LEGO set ever."
While I appreciate the design of the real thing as well as the set, I don't see how this could be anywhere near the top spot of any "most beautiful LEGO set ever" list. I wouldn't even call it "the most beautiful Architecture series set".

Perhaps one has to have been there and experienced it firsthand, including meeting the designer as well as KKK himself to fully appreciate it like you have. Then again, who has the chance to have such an experience? Going there, ok, meeting these people, no chance for the average Joe.

On a technical note, I think the offset of the inserted roof pieces looks strange when compared to the real thing, even though at the moment I can't think of a better way they could have accomplished the effect. So overall, yes, nice set, but nothing more imho.

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By in New Zealand,

10697- 39 colours. Yum.

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By in France,

"We think this may be the most beautiful LEGO set ever."
Ahah, fanboy, yet

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By in United Kingdom,

Thinking of flying in & out from UK in one day during February to see the house & get the Lego set.

My biggest worry is that when I get there, they have no stock of the set left.

Do you think this should hold me back or should I just go for it?

Apologies if this is not he place to ask this question.

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By in United Kingdom,

Go for it! It will be an excellent day out regardless of whether you can get the set or not.

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By in United Kingdom,

I count around 45 colors in the Ghostbusters HQ ;)

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By in United Kingdom,

Cheers Huw,

Took the plunge & going on 19th February.

Nice Xmas present for the wife.

Just hope Ryanair don't let me down.

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm here at the moment, was tempted by the £12.99 flights! House is great, weather not so good :)

If anyone is visiting in the next couple of days, the Lego House store still has an opening offer available although stock may not last much longer - free Lego Brand Store set 40145 with 1000kr purchase (i.e. 2 lego houses & a couple of bits). All just fits in my Ryanair sized cabin case!

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By in Netherlands,

I am triggered that the box and the name plate are not from the front...

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By in United States,

It definitely looks really nice and look forward to getting one. Anyone knows if this is a limited edition set? or just limited to the LEGO House souvenir store, but unlimited production?

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By in Netherlands,

Cool! After reading this post, I immediately planned a visit. It’s 700km by car... but worth it!

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By in Norway,

Had the fortune to go last week. Talked to a nice English guy who was there to help out in the store, who said some guy had bought like 40 sets to sell on eBay. Nice that people can get their hands on them, of course, but at €200 it's a bit steep imo. Strange that they didn't put a cap on how many you could buy. If you're going, several of the stores in Billund still have the 2014 Lego House set for sale, at a reasonable €20, make sure to pick up for comparison

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By in Hungary,

there is a cap - 10 per person

still recovering from my visit yesterday...everything you hear is an understatement, you have to be there and then build the set.

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