Design Decoded: BIG Plans for a Lego Museum in Denmark

big lego house

Still from an animation illustrating the concept behind BIG’s design for Lego House (image: BIG)

Some architects played with Legos as a child. And some never stopped playing with them. Take, for instance, the Copenhagen and New York-based architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) –the architects currently developing a master plan for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C– who have designed two major projects involving the snap together bricks, including a new Lego Museum in the toymaker’s hometown.

Now, bricks are good for two things: building a wall and throwing through a window. Lego bricks aren’t any different, as illustrated by BIG. Though they may not have literally thrown them through any windows (that I’m aware of), the cool playfulness that pervades BIG’s work is a metaphorical brick thrown through the windows of modernism’s glass skyscrapers. BIG’s high-wire high-rise designs, which have more in common with mountain ranges than Manhattan, shatter architectural preconceptions and the aloof, over-serious sensibility that pervades the profession. In less than 10 years, the firm, founded in 2005 by Bjarke Ingels, have blossomed from a scrappy Rem Koolhaas-inspired startup with great PR to a widely recognized, innovative global design practice with major commissions in major cities the world over.

Continue reading on Design Decoded


More Architectural Graffiti: Lego Architecture Grafts

Dispatchwork by Jan Vormann (via Junk Jet)


The above image of bricks and lego bricks comes from Junk Jet no.2 with no explanation other than an author and title. Dispatchwork by Jan Vormann is architectural grafitti. Like Polish artist Truth’s interventions, it introduces a plastic, modern material into an surface patinated by time. Dispatchwork is like a playful skin graft, rejuvenating a surface that might be taking itself a bit seriously. A new scale of “brick” has been introduced into the surfaces, defamiliarizing and then reintroducing the walls to passers-by. While the introduction of the Lego architectural graffiti is somewhat subversive, it also arguably creates a more perfect surface. A flawlessly smooth wall; an exactly 90 degree corner. And hell, it just looks cool.

If you haven’t got your copy of Junk Jet yet, act fast! Not many were printed and it covers everything from the Infrastructural implications of the Popemobile as put forth by Sam Jacob to the mythic “cybridised architecture” of Neil Spiller, and much, much more (including free architecture tattoos!). Junk Jet will also be included in the exhibition A Few Zines, opening this week.

&#183 Junk Jet [website]
&#183 A Few Zines [Loud Paper]
&#183 Truth’s Architectural Graffiti and Ornament as Crime [LWB]