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Lego Sins of My Distant Youth





[July 5, 2007] Yes, I bought a lot of Lego's as a kid. And, yes, I built a lot of bad buildings with them.

 -by Lynn Becker



With the Danish company's talent for promotion, coupled to the durable fun factor of its product, Lego has a talent for keeping its building sets in the news, most recently with the Building Asia Brick by Brick exhibition. And while today, Lego sets are more about Technic, Bionicle, and Exo-Force, they started out, of course, as blocks to make buildings with.

So that's the excuse for recycling these ancient photos of some the Lego creations of my own youth. Then, as now, Lego sets weren't cheap, but for a very brief time Lego had an ill-conceived deal in which their products were distributed by Samsonite. What somehow wasn't immediately apparent to Lego's top management - the questionable synergy between a luggage company and a maker of children's toys - was immediately picked up on by the general public, to disasterous results. The result was a spectacular closeout where I was able to pick up entire boxes chock-full of Legos for about a buck each, allowing me to amass a set including thousands of pieces, a large proportion of them windows - hard to obtain otherwise in any great quantity.

The following was the result. Please forgive me.

Art Museum
Art Museum in Lego, Lynn Becker
A central entry atrium between two wings of interlocking galleries. You would work your way through the southern strip of galleries at either side of the atrium, winding up at a large single gallery at the end, also the endpoint for the mirroring northern strip of galleries, through which you could now double back to the atrium.

Concert Hall
Concert Hall in Lego, Lynn Becker
The Met meets Dorothy Chandler, doing credit to neither. An open air concourse and inner lobby wraps around three sides of the auditorium. I ran out of bricks before I could enclose the stage structure.

Railroad Station/Office Tower
Railroad Tower in Lego, Lynn Becker
Alley elevation:
Railroad Tower, Alley Elevation in Lego, Lynn Becker
Waiting room sits atop a street-level entry arcade. Train concourse (trains on raised viaduct) at rear.

1890's Stock Exchange Building. W.W. Boyington on a really bad day.
1890's Stock Exchange in Lego, Lynn Becker
View of roof:
1890's Stock Exchange Building in Lego, Roof, Lynn Becker
Central skylight over trading floor which is, in turn sided by catwalks fronting traders' offices.
Alley elevation:
1890's Stock Exchange Building in Lego, Alley Elevation, Lynn Becker

Sullivanesque Office Tower. The Garrick without a theatre - or a clue. The tower looks like it's plopped on top of a four-plus-one.
Sullivanesque Office Tower in Lego, Lynn Becker

Municipal Building.
Municipal Building, Pennzoil version, in Lego, Lynn Becker Pennz
This is the Pennzoil version. The yellow portion includes a City Hall chambers whose large window wall allows public viewing of deliberations from the adjoining plaza. The red component is for municipal offices, the blue for light-filled courtrooms. There was also the pyramid tower version:
Municipal Building in Lego, Tower version, Lynn Becker
Alley elevation:
Muncipal Tower, alley elevation, in Lego, Lynn Becker

Burnham & Root Inspired Office Building.
How the weight of the cantilevered outer walls was to be carried by the recessed base is anyone's guess.
Burnham and Root inspired Office Building in Lego, Lynn Becker
Alley elevation - this is what happens when you run out of windows. The larger openings are filled with cut-up microfiche.
Burnham and Root inspired Office Building, in Lego, alley elevation, Lynn Becker
Giant Panda Climbing to Top of Tower. Taken only moments before the biplane attack that, combined with insecure footing, resulted in his unfortunate, violent end.
Giant Panda at top of Lego Tower, Lynn Becker


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© Copyright 2007 Lynn Becker All rights reserved.

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