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.

CON – Urban rigger

A LEGO model of Urban Rigger is built by Anne Mette Vestergård.

In the description of the building, BIG states:

Recent years have demonstrated a substantial and sustained increase in the number of student applicants throughout Denmark. As the number of students continues to grow, additional student housing will be needed to accommodate them. There are few strategies that allow cities to expand. Yet, Copenhagen’s harbor remains an underutilized and underdeveloped area at the heart of the city. By introducing a building typology optimized for harbor cities we can introduce a housing solution that will keep students at the heart of the city.

Meanwhile, the standardized container system has been developed to allow goods to be transported by road, water or air, to anywhere in the world in a complex network of operators at a very low cost. By making use of the standard container system we are offered the framework for an extremely flexible building typology.

By stacking 9 container units in a circle, we can create 12 studio residences which frame a centralized winter garden; this is used as a common meeting place for students. The housing is also buoyant, like a boat, so that can be replicated in other harbor cities where affordable housing is needed, but space is limited.

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.

DONG – First prototypes

Many of the BIG models showcased on this blog will be on display as part of a major BIG exhibition, Formgivning (from June 12th to October 20th 2019) in Danish Architecture Centre recently relocated to the new BLOX building on the Copenhagen harbour front.

BIG would like to add some interaction to the LEGO displays by having the guests collaborate on constructing BIG architecture from LEGO themselves! How could this be done? After some brainstorming, the idea of using the DONG – Dortheavej Residence for the purpose came up as it consists of 70 almost identical prefabricated containers. The guests could simply build one container each (or in teams) and stack them to create the final model.

The pictures below show the DONG building. The description is taken from the BIG project website

The characteristic checkered pattern of Dortheavej is based on a singular prefab structure. Conceived as a porous wall, the building gently curves in the center, creating space for a public plaza towards the street.

The housing modules repeat along the curve and are stacked to the height of the surrounding buildings. The stacking creates additional space for each appartment to have a small terrace.

Long wooden planks cover the facade on all sides, highlighting the modules and alternating to accentuate the checkered pattern.

To test the feasibility of the idea, a prototype of a prefab module was built. Based on the architectural drawings, it turned out that modules could be represented very accurately in minifig scale by a 16×32 standard baseplate footprint and 10 bricks in height.

A very important design aspect to capture in the LEGO version is the alternating wooden planks in the facade. The “back” of the Masonry brick in Dark Tan combined with a single line of plates and tiles at the top and bottom gives a nice effect and makes it easy to make a snot construction (as 5 plates = 2 bricks). For the facades with smaller windows, the height of each panel could simply be doubled as seen on the picture below.

Having built the first prototype and being satisfied with the look of the facade, the next step was to consider constructability. How do we make a container that is both sturdy and easy to built for the exhibition guests with simple instructions? The solution was to split the construction in three: The easy, open container module and the two distinct facade types that can be clicked on to the container. In that way, it would be possible to split the construction of the container between more people with different LEGO skills.

The first prototype of this concept was built in grey to optimize the construction and part usage before eventually ordering large quantities of the bricks in dark tan. At this stage, we also had to consider the very limited part selection in dark tan.

The concpet seemed to work, the facades would clip on easily. Next step was to order the necessary bricks and start building more containers to see if the idea of simply stacking them in a curve was feasible. More on that in a later blog post!

 

LEGO House at London Design Museum

The LEGO Model of LEGO House is on exhibition at the Design Museum in London in the period 12 September 2018 – 6 January 2019.

The LEGO model is part of the “Beazley Design of the Year 2018”. Every year since 2008 hundreds of design experts from around the world nominate the most innovative designs from the past 12 months. LEGO HOUSE by BIG is one of the nominated in the architecture category this year. The nominated designs are on display – and the LEGO Model built by Lasse Vestergård represents LEGO HOUSE.

London Design Museum

FAER – Faroe Islands Education Center opens

Just in time for the school year to begin, BIG completes the 19,200m2 education center in the capital city of the Faroe Islands.

The opening for three different schools now gathered under one roof was celebrated with 3500 people from the local area.

The LEGO model of Glasir (FAER) is mounted in a showcase inside the new beautiful building.

Faroe Islands Education Center welcomes more than 1,200 students and 300 teachers in the vortex shaped campus that radiates out towards its surroundings while creating an inner landscape for communal learning.

79&PARK – The final model

The YouTube video below presents the final model, comparing the LEGO version to the visualizations of the actual building. I am very satisfied with the end result.

Below are images with various angles and light. I particularly like the last image imitating the sunset with large shadows.

The professional images were shot at the studios of Trendshots.dk, who specialize in product images for webshops. The pictures below show the process. Each of the final pictures is composed of three images with varying focus and has been cleared of any background noise and clutter.

As can be seen on the picture above, the model sits on top of a turn table which allowed us to take a 360 degree image of the model. Click the image below to see the model turn.

http://360.trendshots.dk/jonas/lego/1.aspx

The model is currently on display in the foyer of LEGO House in Billund alongside all the other buildings in the BIG Builders project. It can be seen in its own display case in the back of the picture.