Want to see the BIGgest LEGO models?

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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Audemars Piguet Hôtel des Horlogers by Jessica Farrell

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79&PARK by Esben Kolind

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The Spiral by Rocco Buttliere

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LEGO House by Lasse Vestergård

12 comments on this article

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By in United States,

I know a saying everywhere you go you will find an US citizen from Puerto Rico running away from other PR (we sometimes get very loud and we have to move from the sides of purselves to be at peace), but LEGO fans, LEGO fans materialize from nothing.

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By in United States,

Geez, too bad there is no way I could possibly make it to that.

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By in United States,

I wonder where Brickvault's rebel hanger would place.

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By in United States,

Wow.

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By in United States,

This is such an amazing project! That 79&Park build is my favorite.

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By in United States,

I'm always a little sad that in order to build like this one basically has to be rich. I love the creations, but I wonder how many others could design and build such things if only they had the actual parts. I have a design for a Moonbase (anyone remember the old 48x48 stud Moonbase standard from Lugnet and RTL?) tower that I'd love to build but can't. It exists only in digital form and a skeletal design of mismatched colors.

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By in United States,

Doesn't look big to me at all. Plus its microscale.

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By in United States,

Awesome models! Reminds me of my childhood, when I wanted to be an architect and build my real life creations in LEGO bricks. Never had 1/10th of the talent of these people though, amazing stuff :)

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By in Latvia,

Fantastic idea! And the end results are spectacular! My favourite is 79&PARK and Spiral

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By in Canada,

I hope I can be part of a collaborative project like this one day. Very interesting article and made me take another look at the architect’s work. I also loved seeing the LEGO house come together and first being made aware of BIG and some of his other projects

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By in United States,

@Norikins

These are bigger than you think. I've had the pleasure of seeing some of Rocco's work in person, and his models range from tiny to quite large; these are the latter.

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