This article has been contributed by guest writer Juliane Bach Larsen:
As AFOLs, we all know that LEGO brings people together and creates a sense of community. We’ve seen its power unfold in events such as LEGO World and the well-known Skærbæk Fan Weekend, but what happens when AFOLs with a very specific mutual interest join forces? The international project called “BIG Builders” is what happens.
It all started a summer day on the Faroe Islands, where founder Helgi Toftegaard noticed that they were constructing a big building meant to house all the youth educations in the country; Faroe Islands Education Center designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). The building’s round shape immediately caught Helgi’s attention, as he figured it would be a challenge to build it using only LEGO bricks.
Inspired by the fact that Bjarke Ingels was the architect behind LEGO House (as well as other spectacular buildings), Helgi got the idea to gather LEGO fans who wanted to build BIG buildings from all over the world, and the project was initiated during the Skærbæk Fan Weekend 2016. About 20 builders from a variety of different countries – Denmark, the United States of America, Canada, China and Taiwan – joined the project, which very appropriately was named “BIG Builders”.
To make the buildings as realistic as possible, the group reached out to BIG’s studio in Copenhagen, and they turned out to be more than happy to share drawings and blue prints of their buildings, thus helping make the project a reality. As luck would have it, Bjarke Ingels is a huge AFOL himself, and he was excited to see his buildings come to life using LEGO bricks.
Bjarke Ingels at the Faroe Islands Education Center
With the official architectural drawings in hand, BIG Builders requested help with funding the project through LEGO’s Project Support Program. Based on this request, LEGO became very interested in the BIG project. In fact so interested that they approached the group and asked them to collaborate on creating an architecture exhibition in LEGO House half a year after its opening. The result of this was that 10 of the BIG models were showcased in the foyer of LEGO House from April to May 2018.
After the exhibition in LEGO House, Bjarke Ingels Group became even more interested in the project and they wanted to keep the models on display. Therefore, they invited BIG Builders to become part of an exhibition at BLOX (Danish Architecture Center) in Copenhagen called “BIG presents FORMGIVING”.
Faroe Islands Education Center by Helgi Toftegaard
24 models of BIG buildings (10 of which were the models displayed in LEGO House) will be on display during BIG presents FORMGIVING from the 12th of June to the 20th of October 2019. The models are as follows:
- TIRPITZ Museum designed by Elisabeth Horte
- 2 WTC designed by Rocco Buttliere
- 79&PARK designed by Esben Kolind
- 8 House designed by Trine Dalsgaard Jensen
- AARhus designed by Glenn Knoesgaard
- Amager Bakke / Copenhill designed by Lasse Vestergård
- LEGO House designed by Lasse Vestergård
- Honeycomb / Albany Marina Residences Building 1 designed by Anne Mette Vestergård
- Faroe Islands Education Center designed by Helgi Toftegaard
- Hualien Residences designed by ZiO Chao, Hsinwei Chi and Kimura Hsieh
- People’s Building Shanghai designed by Shenghui Jiang and built by René Askham
- The Mountain designed by Esben Kolind
- Urban Rigger designed by Anne Mette Vestergård
- Sjakket Community Building designed by Lasse Vestergård
- Maritime Youth House designed by Anne Mette Vestergård
- Grove at Grand Bay designed by Lars Barstad
- EXPO 2010 Danish Pavilion designed by Helgi Toftegaard
- Audemars Piguet Hôtel des Horlogers designed by Jessica Farrell
- The Spiral designed by Rocco Buttliere
- Times Square Valentine designed by Are Heiseldal and Helgi Toftegaard
- M/S Maritime Museum of Denmark designed by Anders Thuesen
- Kistefos Museum designed by Lars Barstad
- Shenzhen Energy Mansion designed by Shenghui Jiang and built by Jan Smed
- Panda House designed by Emil Lidé
The LEGO part of the exhibition (called “Play Room”) will also include a play area for children as well as a co-creation area where the museum guests are invited to build part of a 3-meter long model of Dortheavej Residence (designed by Esben Kolind and Helgi Toftegaard).
If you want to know more about the project and the builders behind it, you can check out their blog, which features interesting insights into the building processes of these models.
Audemars Piguet Hôtel des Horlogers by Jessica Farrell
79&PARK by Esben Kolind
The Spiral by Rocco Buttliere
LEGO House by Lasse Vestergård