The Panda House is the home of the Copenhagen Zoo’s two new pandas. In a collaboration between the Zoo and the Copenhagen LEGO Store I was asked to build a model of this, to be exhibited in the LEGO Store.
The building have almost no straight lines anywhere, and the shape is representation of the yin and yang with the curved separation between the two enclosures. The build also features a lot of greenery to portray the kind of lush environment of pandas natural habitat.
The trickiest feature to make was the round walkway going all the way around the build, with lots of experimentation at the start to get the right diameter of the ring but still keep it reasonably sturdy.
When it comes to scale the build had to be a bit skewed, with slightly different scale for the different elements of the build. This was due to the desire to incorporate LEGO minifigures, while still being able to fit the build into a display case of a certain size. One consequence of this is that the area for the panda looks smaller in the build than in real life.
Due to all the rounded shapes many very bit intensive techniques had to be used, pushing the number of pieces used quite high, to around 10,000. This is a very rough number though, as the method used for organic building is very iterative and keeping track of usage is not easy.
All in all it has been a fun challenge to build, and I’m really happy with how it turned out!
The model has now been fully designed in LEGO Digital Designer!
Overall, the model will consist of nearly 5,500 pieces and will feature a façade made up of transparent LEGO plates, with medium blue plates behind. The spiral pattern was surprisingly tricky to account for as it winds its way up the tower, and resulted in numerous half-stud offsets along the broad faces of the building. The windows directly behind each spiral step will feature tan highlights in an effort to differentiate these sections of façade from the rest of the glass. The balconies will also be covered in plenty of greenery and plants in the spirit of the overall design concept of continuing New York City’s Highline into the Skyline!
This image highlights much of the internal structure of the model. It is made up of four stacked modules which are connected with a central 2×2 technic beam. I chose to use pink during much of the design process as transparent elements can be difficult to see in LEGO Digital Designer. This decision also helped with the program’s performance overall.
A LEGO model of The Spiral will be build by Rocco Buttliere.
Every new piece starts with a sketch. As a trained architect, plan and section drawings always help me better visualize the dimensions and massing of the overall building. The next step is to start designing the model, which will likely be made up of numerous stacks of floor plates, each with different dimensions as the spiral pattern slowly diminishes the overall footprint. Stay tuned!
In the description of the building, BIG states:
Located at the intersection of the High Line and the newly developed Hudson Boulevard Park on Manhattan’s new western frontier, THE SPIRAL extends the green space of the former train tracks in a spiraling motion towards the sky – from High Line to the skyline. The 1,005 ft high-rise is a unique hybrid that intertwines a continuous green pathway with workspaces on every level. The chain of amenity spaces and terraces originates at THE SPIRAL’s main entrance on 34th street and Hudson Boulevard. The spiral wraps around the tower, which becomes gradually slimmer towards the top. This creates unique floor configurations that will cater to a diverse community of tenants making the building a lively place for businesses of different scales – giving tenants a stake in the buildings iconic skyline presence.
Inside, every terrace becomes a double height atrium with impressive views over Manhattan, offering a more informal setting for meetings, events and recreational activities. These spaces connect multiple levels in the building, offering an alternative to elevators to encourage physical activity and interaction amongst colleagues. THE SPIRAL sets a new standard for the contemporary workplace, where nature becomes an integrated part of the work environment while spatial features are continuously adaptable to the changing needs of the tenants and their organizations.
The stepping form of THE SPIRAL echoes the architecture of
New York City’s classic stepped setback skyscrapers and is the natural
evolutionary step in the Tishman Speyer portfolio. The silhouette of THE SPIRAL
resonates with the iconic architecture of Rockefeller Center while its modern
materials and detailing place it at the forefront of contemporary high-rise
design on a path to become a future classic on the Manhattan skyline.