79&PARK – Ending with the base

The building itself is now complete except for final corrections. Left is to build a  base for the building, the inner courtyard and the streets around the building.

Looking back, it might have been a good idea to plan and build the base of the building first (just like in real life) and think about the positioning of the wiring for the lights. It turned out to be a bit of a nightmare to build and attach the base since the building is very heavy and all facades are built with SNOT (Studs Not On Top).

The picture below shows my sketches for the base and the choice of plates. It is quite clear that it is not just a rectangular base.

To provide structural stability, the base is built as a classical “sandwich” (plate, brick, plate and tile) with Technic bricks and classic 2xX bricks in rarely used colors.

To attach the base, the building was carefully placed on the side, and plates and tiles were placed in the top layer of the base to match the underside of the building. Also, the inner courtyard part of the base was left open in order to hide the wires after attachment.

The base does not extend all the way to the edge of the building as the streets will be attached at 45 degree angle and “slide” underneath the edge.

The next step is to hide the wires in the base and build the inner courtyard on top. That will be the topic of a future blog post.


REN – People’s Building Shanghai

A LEGO model of REN – People’s Building Shanghai will be build by Shenghui Jiang.

In the description of the building, BIG states:

The RÉN building is a proposal for a hotel, sports and conference center for the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. The building is concieved as two buildings merging into one. The first building, emerging from the water, is devoted to the activities of the body, and houses the sports and water culture center. The second building emerging from land, is devoted to the spirit and enlightenment, and houses the conference center and meeting facilities. The two buildings meet in a 1000 room hotel, a building for living. The building becomes the chinese sign for “The People”,  and a recognizable landmark for the World Expo in China.

Made with “LEGO Digital Designer” [LDD]

The history of construction:

I chose REN because it will be located in China. REN is a very abstract building represented by Chinese character ‘人’, which means people. Since Chinese character normally has smooth curves so that I have use white hinges to manually make it a smooth curve. White color is mostly used on the top of the building while the transparent one is used on the side which faces the river. The transparent side is full of office windows and has a great view from the inside building. This building has not yet been built but it will definitely a very iconic building in Shanghai.
Shenghui Jiang

AAR – AARhus

A LEGO model of AARhus, a residental building beeing built at Aarhus Ø in Denmarks second largest city, Aarhus. It is situated right at the harbour front, with water to 3 sides.

The LEGO model is being built by Glenn Knøsgaard. I am living in a small town about 20 km from where AARhus is being built. I wanted to build something local, so it was natural to select AARhus.

The Building

It is a quite a large building with 21 stories. It is shaped like a parallelogram, and the terraces have curved edges, which makes it quite challenging to build in LEGO. There is a court yard in the middle in the height of the second floor.

Choosing a scale

When choosing a scale to build your LEGO model in, you must choose which characteristics of the building are essential to preserve. You cannot include every detail of the full scale building in LEGO bricks.

For this building, the parallelogram shape, the vertical wooden separations between the apartments, and the curved terraces are the essential things to preserve. I tried to find a scale as small as possible, but I could not find any other way to construct the balconies and terraces than bricks laid on the side (SNOT – Studs Not On Top), this makes the horizontal separation of the floors, 8mm thick. The wooden  separators will be made of tiles with hinges.

One of the wooden apartment separators, they come in different sizes and angles.

For this to work each floor in the building must be either 2 or 4 studs high. As 2 studs would let the the balconies seem too thick, I settled for 4 studs. Therefore the height of each floor will be 4 studs plus one brick i.e. 4 x 8mm + 9.6mm = 41,6mm, the real life height is 3150mm which gives a scale of roughly 1:76.

I Then loosely estimated how many LEGO elements were needed, and that summed up to a lot! I closed my eyes and ordered them.

Start building

When the bricks arrived 4-5 months later, I was busy with other projects, and was a bit tired of building. But I have now started the building process.

My building table, not big enough for the entire building.

I have made the walls for the lowest two floors, and it is becoming a bit larger that I anticipated. Before starting building in this scale, you also have to consider that it has to be transportable, and therefore it must be possible to disassemble it into smaller sections. I decided not to make these section larger than they can fit into a standard Euro box (60 x 40 cm outside dimensions) In the 1:76 scale the longest side would be slightly longer than twice what could fit into a box, I therefore squeezed the length and width, so the xy-plane ends up in 1:81 scale, I hope that the architects will not notice the difference in scale between height and width!

The outline of the model, placed on my dining table.
A view at street height.

All balconies and terraces are of cause shielded, I guess that the architects, and possibly also the residents, don’t like heavy fences, so the shielding is pure glass. As this is ment to be as invisible as possible, I completely left it out in my model (meaning that I could not figure out any good way to make it).


I do not know the exact colours used in the building, but it looks like it will be raw concrete with a very light colour.

LEGO’s light grey is too grey, so I decided for white. The vertical separators are made of wood, I guess it will be natural without oiling or paint, so it will turn greyish with time. As I need to use 1×3 tiles, the only choice was sand yellow, a bit boring, but will do.


This is an interesting building, with huge challenges to reconstruct it in LEGO. It is becoming a much larger project that I thought when I decided to build it (why the heck should I choose this particular building?) I hope it will be finished in time, we’ll see.

79&PARK – Let there be light!

In this third post about my LEGO model of 79&PARK, I will show how small LED lights are built into the model. The picture below is one of the first reference pictures of 79&PARK I saw, and I immediately figured that I needed to incorporate light effects into the model to be able to mimic the atmosphere in the photo.  

I use the Pico Lights from Brickstuff (http://www.brickstuff.com) and even for my trained LEGO hands, the handling of the small lights, wires and print boards can be a bit tricky. But the lights fit within a 1×1 plate and the wires are easily hidden between two bricks, so the system is ideal for micro scale building.

I own a total of 14 Pico Lights that will be placed in the windows facing the lowest part of the building (the front). To save on the Pico lights, there will be no light effects on the back of the model.

Initially, I have installed the lights as the building progresses making sure that the wires are hidden and come out of the bottom of the building in the inner court yard. Eventually, I will built the foundation of the building and the wires will be hidden underneath.

The picture below shows an example of a Pico light installed in a 1x2x2 window at the very front of the building.

The second example below shows a Pico light installed inside a white profile brick. This gives a very nice curtain effect and a yellow glow.

The first four lights have been installed on the picture below. I am quite pleased with the added effect and it comes quite close to the “feel” of the initial reference photo.

Overall, the model really starts to take shape with the sixth floor soon completed and half of the roof top terraces built. The compact interior makes the building very heavy compared to its relatively small size. But as almost all facade elements are attached by SNOT connections, the model is also quite fragile when it is lifted.

79&PARK – Plants and greenery

This second blog post about my LEGO model of 79&PARK will focus on the plants and greenery of the building. A very distinct feature of the building is the many rooftop terraces with various grasses, flowers, plants and trees, but plants are also found in the inner courtyard and along the streets outside the building.

The original drawings indicate for each rooftop pixel one of two types of vegetation (if not a wooden terrace, either shared or private): “Sedum/grass” or “Perennials”. However, as it is clear from the reference photos these vegetation types come in many color variations.

In addition, a number of trees, bushes and flowers in various shapes and sizes are found throughout the building.

In my initial design of the LEGO model, I did not settle on any specific element or colors for the greenery. Instead, I ordered small amounts of a number of different tiles and special elements suitable for micro-scale greenery. The selection can be seen on the picture below.

In the end, I will not be using all of these element, but rather experiment with different combinations as I go along.

For a first test, I went with Tan for the terraces, Dark Green and Olive Green for “Sedum/grass” pixels and other shades of green and brown for the “Perennials” pixels. Also, I experimented with different textures on certain pixels using grilles, flower elements and round 1×1 tiles. The result can be seen below. White 1×1 round tiles indicate furniture on the terraces.

I think it looks quite all right, but it is very likely that I will change some of the pixels or plants when I have built the full model. The final decision on colors and plant elements will be based on “what looks best”: Some variation, but not too much clutter.

The rest of the building is also coming along with three full floors now being built. Most pixels use the two standard cubes shown in the first blog post, however, for the corners and certain areas of the building where the direction of the windows change, I have had to come up with some more complicated solutions.

 You may have noticed wiring in the last two photos. And yes, the building will be fitted with lights, that is the topic of a future post.