MTN – Reaching the summit

I have built Mount Everest in LEGO! Well, just a mosaic but still…

I am quite satisfied with the result. Compared to the instructions from the mosaic maker program, I have substituted about half of the very light grey 1×1 plates with transparent 1×1 plates. This was done partly because of limited supply, partly to reflect the partial transparency of the real-life wall due to the raster effect described in the previous blog post. Also, the dark bluish grey plates representing the sky have been replaced by dark transparent plates and tiles since this part is in fact the area with the highest level of transparency.

As with all mosaics, the result looks better from a distance as seen on the picture below.

During the construction, I followed the instructions meticulously using a ruler, a pencil and temporary tiles to indicate each 10 studs. Where possible, I used larger plates and bricks to keep the wall together. It is not sturdy, but not too fragile either.

I have now moved on to the final touches including the surrounding street and canal environments.

MTN – Preparing to build Mount Everest

All the apartments are now completed except for props (tables, plants etc.) on the terraces which will be added at the end. So when you look at the model from a very specific angle (south-east corner), it looks finished.

But I have yet to build the back side of the building, the large image of Mount Everest wrapping around the parking lot under the apartments. From the images below it would appear that the image is painted on somewhat transparent panels.

However, when you come up close it turns out that all the panels are in fact the same grey/silver color and the image appears due to the raster effect of holes in various sizes!

The image below was kindly provided by the architect and is the original image of Mount Everest used to create the panels.

How do you recreate this in LEGO? I considered many different options, including using Technic bricks with holes to mimic the actual construction. But I settled for a classic, studs-up mosaic and used a LEGO mosaic maker tool to create the image below which will serve as the building instruction. The mosaic alone contains roughly 10.000 1×1 plates!

I have chosen the colors white, very light grey (from the LEGO Mosaic sets), light bluish grey and dark bluish grey as well as transparent and dark transparent which I hope will give a little of the see-through effect of the actual wall. The plates are ligned up below, color by color.

The model has been turned 180 degrees on my table. Now it is time to start building a giant mosaic!

MTN – Half way up the hill

The apartments now reach almost half the way up the hill and the model is starting to resemble the real building.

The grey sides of the model are attached at an angle to each floor in a very simple and space efficient way, that allows the studs to be aligned exactly at the wanted position. This is shown on the two pictures below.

This picture shows a subset of the apartments shortly after the building was completed. The plants have yet to grow big.

VM Bjerget

In my Lego version the green plants are more visible which corresponds to the current state of the building as seen on the image below.

Finally, a view from the top.

MTN – Starting from the bottom

Time has come to start building the main feature of the model, the 80 apartments. The remaining gray bricks from the parking garage have been put aside making room for bricks, plates and tiles in tan, dark tan and dark green.

But before construction can begin, there is a boring job to be done putting glasses in several hundred tan windows.

The ground floor consists of just two apartments. I might return and adjust the level of greenery later when I see how it works on a couple more floors.

Here, level 1 and 2 have been added and the repeated pattern of apartments start to become visible.

For reference, here is a picture of the same section of the actual building.

Only 70 more apartments to go!

MTN – The Parking Garage

The parking garage that forms the base of the building is now complete. The 8×8 studs grid of columns is very visible, as is the angled elevator in the center of the building. This is by far the most grey pieces I have ever used for a LEGO model.

I will likely add trophy figures and a few cars to the parking garage at a later stage.

The picture below shows the real life parking garage. The next step is to start building the 80 apartments on top of the garage. This will be a more colorful experience as each floor has a distinct color when seen from the inside of the parking garage.

MTN – Getting started

My first contribution to the Big Builders project was a model of 79&PARK in Stockholm. For my second model, I have chosen one of the most iconic designs by Bjarke Ingels: The Mountain – a residential structure in Copenhagen completed in 2007.

In the description of the building, BIG states:

How do you combine the splendours of the suburban backyard with the social intensity of urban density? The Mountain Dwellings are the 2nd generation of the VM Houses – same client, same size and same street. The program, however, is 2/3 parking and 1/3 living. What if the parking area became the base upon which to place terraced housing – like a concrete hillside covered by a thin layer of housing, cascading from the 11th floor to the street edge? Rather than doing two separate buildings next to each other – a parking and a housing block – we decided to merge the two functions into a symbiotic relationship.

Project description on BIG’s website

Project description on Arch Daily

With a parking garage, terraced housing on top, a picture of Mount Everest on the facade, multiple colors on the various levels, lots of greenery and all apartments turned 45 degrees compared to the outer walls, this structure is a great challenge to build in microscale using LEGO bricks!

Initial design

Having received all background material from BIG (floor plans, pictures etc.), my first step was to experiment with some of the basic elements of the model: The height of each floor, size of each apartment, available window elements and colors. The real building is constructed on a grid of columns separated by 10 meters and deciding on the model grid size would define the scale of the entire building. Using an 8×8 plate for each of the 10×10 m grids results in a distance between each floor of almost exactly 7 plates, corresponding to a plate for the floor and a 1x2x2 Window Frame for all the windows. The scale becomes 1:156 and also fits perfectly with the trophy figures as seen on the prototype below where two apartments have been stacked on top of each other at an offset.

In the previous model of 79&Park, the distance between the levels was only 5 plates (1:225) so the MTN model will be substantially larger. The ground plan is 80 x 96 studs (including surrounding pedestrian areas) and the model will be built and transported in one piece.

As for the color selection, the only real decision was the color of the wooden facade. Although Dark Tan would have matched the actual color better, Tan was selected because of the larger part selection, especially the 1x2x2 Window Frame. Dark tan is used for the terraces for contrast. In the picture above, I also tried regular Brown for the wooden panels, but that was simply too dark.

The rest of the design process was done with pencil, ruler and checkered paper and some help from a LEGO mosaic maker program for the facade picture of Mt. Everest (more on that in a future post).

Having received the bricks for the project (including a lot of bricks and plates with a 45 degree angle included), the construction has now begun, starting with the base and the parking garage. So far, it looks pretty grey.

The 10x10m grid can be seen on the drawings in the picture above and the picture below shows the real life parking garage.