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.


BHS – Honeycomb Building

Anne Mette Vestergård (a 49-year-old LEGO Fan from Denmark) has built this model.

Anne Mette is from Denmark and has never been in Bahamas and never seen the building at Albany Marina Residences. However, she was very fascinated by the pools on each balcony. “It must be a dream to have you own pool in you apartment, and at same time you are relaxing in the pool have a fantastic view over the ocean.”


The honeycomb structure and all the glass was a challenge to transform to a LEGO Building. When you build with trans-clear LEGO bricks, it is very visible to see the joints between the different bricks and plates. Looking at the drawings for the building, it looks like there was vertical joints in the reel glass facades but no horizontal. Because of that, Anne Mette decided to use 1x2x5 trans-clear bricks as the basis for the big glass facades, to avoid to many horizontal joints. This decision determined the scale of the building to 1:75, which did not fit to normal minifigures.

Building in this scale the building is more than one meter long, and it seems ok to choose to build the honeycomb structure up by plates. It makes it very visible that the building is built of LEGO bricks but it was already visible by the glass, and seems to fit well together.

The figures

When building in scale 1:75 a standard minifigures are too big and especially to wide. The figures normally made for scale 1:100 as seen in Lasse´s LEGO model of LEGO House is too small. Therefore, Anne Mette decided to create her own figure. Reusing the minifig head and hair but creating a thinner and shorter body for it.

Anne Mette made two versions, a standing one and a sitting one.

The design of furniture

When building figures to the balconies they also need furniture. At the same time, the glass facades made it possible to look into the building. It should not look empty, but at the same time, Anne Mette did not want to build fully furnished apartments and use colors that took too much attention from the building and the shape of the building. Therefore, the furniture is white and light bluish grey as the building and built in a scale fitting to the figures.

FAER – The building

A LEGO model of The Faroe Islands Education Centre will be build by Helgi Toftegaard.

In the description of the building, BIG states:

The new Education Centre in Marknagil is situated on a hillside on the outskirts of Torshavn, to serve as a base for coordination and future development of all educational programmes in the region. As the largest educational building project in the country’s history, the institution combines Faroe Islands Gymnasium, Torshavns Technical College and Business College of Faroe Islands in one building, housing 1200 students and 300 teachers.

Located on a hillside, 100 m above the sea level with a panoramic view overlooking the sea, mountains and harbor of Torshavn, the project is designed as a vortex, radiating out towards its surroundings while at the same time focusing in on the school’s inner landscape for learning the lessons of life. Each institution is organized as a school in a school with ideal conditions for each, while creating a sense of community for learning and life. The generous surroundings provide unique opportunities to shape the school from the inside out ‐ as a functional sculpture formed by the schools internal needs.

Each school will function independently comprising the space it requires with room to grow in the future. Additionally by combining the three schools under one roof they will create the synergetic effect of a vertical campus. At the school’s heart is an open rotunda space, creating a natural gathering point across floor levels and academic interests. A stepped interior reflects the undulating Faroese landscape with its alternating plateaus,stairwells and terraces serving different social and academic activities.

More information can be found here: FAER on BIG website

79&PARK – Getting started

My contribution for the Big Builders project will be a LEGO model of 79&PARK, a large residential building currently under construction in Stockholm, Sweden.

A few renderings and model pictures are shown in this post, but a lot more pictures and information on the project can be found here:

79&PARK on BIG website

79&PARK on Oscar Properties website

In the description of the building, BIG states:

…the massing is visually reduced through a language of pixels, scaled to the human form. This manipulation not only allows for a more organic expression, perfectly reflecting the surrounding landscape, but also provides a way to accomplish the building topography in a controlled and inexpensive way through the use of prefabricated units of standardized sizes.

Naturally, the use of pixels in standardized sizes also makes 79&PARK a wonderful subject for a LEGO model!

Scale selection

When designing a LEGO architectural model, one of the first decisions is obviously the scale which determines the overall size of the model. In this case, the size of the individual pixels becomes a natural anchor.

A pixel size of 1×1 stud would be the smallest possible, whereas a minifig scale model (corresponding to LEGO play sets) would require a pixel size of at least 8×8 studs. Such a model would be enormous. As the length of the pixel side is doubled, the overall volume of the building grows by a factor of 8 and the number of bricks needed increases by roughly the same.

I settled on a pixel size of 2×2 studs which gives a model of about 2 standard LEGO baseplates (32×32 studs) in size. At this size, it is still possible to create details such as balconies, windows and vegetation. As the pixels have a length of 3,6 m in real life and 2 LEGO studs measure 1,6 cm, the scale becomes 1:225.

The distance between the floors of the building is 3,1 m so each pixel is almost cubic. At the selected scale, the height of each level would be 4,3 LEGO plates. Rounding up to 5 plates (= 2 studs) makes the pixels cubic and opens up for a vast number of construction possibilities using SNOT techniques (Studs Not On Top). This is the main design compromise making the LEGO model slightly taller than the real building. The basic pixel size (2x2x2 studs) can be seen in the picture below.

Color options

What color is this building anyway? Well, looking at the many renderings and models it is clear that the amount of (sun)light, the reflections and the viewing angle have a lot to say. Most of the pixels have a large window on one facade and wooden lamellas on the other. Moreover, the lamellas are open in conjunction with the balconies, which gives a different color tone when seen from afar.

For the wooden structures, the LEGO color Brown is both too dark and too shiny. The color Tan is too light but Dark Tan works well, although it has limited parts available. For the open lamellas at the balconies, I am using a Brown grille brick to make is visually distinct (also, it does not exist in Dark Tan). Once the model is complete, I may change this color to Grey (LBG), Dark Grey (DBG) or Tan depending on what looks best. Finally, the windows will be Tan to contrast with the wooden lamellas.

Pixel concepts

The pixels in the facade (555 of them) come in two main designs: Window and balcony. Since most of the facade pixels are offset from the next row, the construction of the pixel does not have to be strictly cubic. This allows me to use the 1x2x2 Window sideways for the window pixels providing very thin edges around the window. The concept for the balcony pixel with the open wooden lamellas is also shown on the picture below.

When attached to an inner frame, the facade pixels overlap and become cubic as seen in the illustration below.

As the model will have no interior, I use different colored profile bricks to replicate vertical and horizontal blinds behind the windows. This also adds some variation to the facades of the building.

Ready to go

The construction of the LEGO model is now underway. The picture below shows the inner skeleton of the building (in white) with the first pixels attached. In the background, an early prototype with different colors for the open wooden lamellas can be seen. This prototype was used for estimation of the number of bricks needed. The detailed building plans are kindly provided by BIG and are used extensively in combination with the available renderings.



Big Builders

Welcome to BigBuilders.dk.

This site is about a Group of LEGO entusiasts Building models of architecture by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG).

The initiative for this project was taken by Helgi Toftegaard at Skærbæk Fan Weekend 2016.

A group of LEGO enthusiasts from Denmark, the United States, Canada, China, Taiwan joined forces to build LEGO models of buildings from Denmark, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Bahamas, Taiwan, China and the United States.

The first exhibition of selected buildings will be in LEGO House from April 20 – May 13, 2018