Architecture, by LEGO – Be an urbanist (I)

Visit LEGO Architecture web site !

The finest element of LEGO creations is a ‘brick’. Brick means definitely to build, to construct and to design individual and|or professional housings. As far as a child (a LEGO fan I should say ;-)) is concerned, he|she inevitably creates – according to a building guide or to his|her inspiration – huts, houses, skycrapers, train station, airport, and so on in which LEGO figurines are supposed to ‘live‘. Consequently the LEGO player may become together an urbanist, an interior designer, sometimes even an historian and an architect.
We will abord all of these aspects in a serie of 5 articles :

1. Architecture, by LEGO – Be an urbanist (I)
2. Architecture, by LEGO – Be an urbanist (II)
3. Architecture, by LEGO – Be an historian
4. Architecture, by LEGO – Be an interior designer
5. Architecture, by LEGO – Be an architect

Let’s start with this first part of the first article about architecture and LEGO!

Be an urbanist

As defined in this Wikipedia’s article, an urbanist (or urban planner) is :’ is a professional who works in the field of urban planning for the purpose of maximizing the effectiveness of a community’s land use and infrastructure. They formulate plans for the development and management of urban and suburban areas, typically analyzing land use compatibility as well as economic, environmental and social trends. In developing their plan for a community (whether commercial, residential, agricultural, natural or recreational), urban planners must also consider a wide array of issues such as sustainability, air pollution, traffic congestion, crime, land values, legislation and zoning codes. ‘. That means that as LEGO player, you have to take into account community’s infrastructure (housing, transportation, security, health, etc.) and territory management (accessibility, activities areas v. housing areas, etc). To realize that, there are many possibilities to build a city with LEGO :

Visit LEGO CITY web site !

1. From already designed brick sets and thanks to supplied building guides
LEGO sells various brick sets which represents a building, a vehicles, a worker for a given situation (given by the category : Farm, Construction, Airport, Train, Police, etc.). All this category belongs to the LEGO CITY products.

Visit LEGO Brick & More web site !

2. From generic brick sets and thanks to your own imagination
By the way, you may build your own city from bricks sets dedicated to let your inspiration be your motor. You will find these sets in the Brick & More web site. Among the products, you will find the most adapted brick set(s) and|or box(es) to your subject (construction and|or transportation) :

¬ Brick Box
¬ Building Set (House, Cars, Town, Road Construction and Vehicle)
¬ Basic bricks : Plates (Blue Building Plate, Large Green Baseplate and X-Large Gray Baseplate), Wheels, Doors & Windows, Roof Tiles

Discover LEGO Brick & More products !

But the best is to simulate the auto-development by the LEGO figurines themselves ! Indeed by simulating CITY auto-expansion thanks to the ‘ Construction ‘ collection, you don’t build a city anymore, but you make the LEGO figurines do it by themselves. And now that really the beginning of the story … :-).

Visit LEGO Construction !

By the way, now you have all you need to begin to build your city, you are ready to be a professional urbanist. So you will take care about how arranging all the following areas and infrastructure of your city :

1. Population & way of life [Accessories]
2. Nature integration
2. Buildings (private and professional housings) and architectural harmony
3. Transportation and logistics consideration
4. Amenities & territory management

Population & way of life [Accessories]

Visit LEGO Minifigures web site !

Thanks to the minifigures the city is coming to life. It’s important to think about mifigure to make more credible. Moreover in architecture theory, human being is the reference to size buildings, furniture, and so on. I recommend for that to read the Modulor written by Le Corbusier. It may help to proportion your city according to the minifigure.

LE CORBUSIER - Modulor

What is fantastic with LEGO figurine is the possibility to modify them in order to dress as you want. Pants, tops and hair are exchangeable. By default when you buy a bricks set, at last one minifigurine is present. It’s a first step to populate your city. But you may buy the LEGO Minifigure Collection & Community workers sets to consistently rise the quantity of minifigurines in your city.

LEGO Minifigures Collection & Community Workers

Moreover in each collection, a very small sets represent a specific scene like the Police officer, the BBQ stand, or the Traveller and more ! This kind of sets is very, very, very interesting because it illustrates how a scene may be suggested with so few bricks. For example look at the BBQ Stand. The BBQ is done with so few bricks but the realism is perfect. Moreover the minifigurine is very typed !You can imagine for instance this chef in the kitchen of a great restaurant !

LEGO Minifigurines sets examples !

Another idea : Combine and mix minifigurines from other LEGO collections like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Prince of Persia, Pirates , Agents and Castles and organize a carnival in your city like in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil !

Furthermore LEGO offers a huge quantity of accessories to enrich the realism of minifigurines’ activity. It may be in terms of :
¬ clothes (hats, pants, tops, wet suit, helmet, cap, scarf, pannier, etc.),
¬ hygiene (brush, etc.)
¬ musical instruments (trompet, etc.)
¬ tools for manual activity (drill, spanner, hammer, shovel, etc.),
¬ fooding (ice cream, banana, chicken, chicken thigh, fish, glass, plate, etc.)
¬ children education (pram, scooter, etc.)
¬ sport (bow and arrows, etc.)
¬ travelling (camera, luggage, suitcase, bag, etc.)
¬ communication (letter, phone, talkie-walkie, etc.)
and this list is non-exhaustive !

Nature integration

As far as I’m concerned, I think that LEGO offers few elements to generate ecosystems. So we can group this elements in 3 categories :

¬ 4 elements : earth, water, fire, wind
¬ Plants and fruits
¬ Animals

And with a clever use of this elements and a big dose of imagination and inspiration, you will be able to create fantastic natural environment, any natural park and zoo.

Earth, water, fire, wind
Earth is not directly represented. The plate allows soil simulation. But except for blue and green plates which simulate respectively water and grass, the plate must diseappear under buildings and plants. That’s a domain that LEGO can considerably improve, can it? Why LEGO doesn’t sell a more coloured plates range?
Furthermore in the ‘ Construction ‘ collection, you will also find stones.
Fire is represented by a small element which is a flame. You may also simulate fire in a fireplace with enlighted bricks.
Wind can’t be represented but simulated. How? With the Wind turbine for example from the Wind Turbine Transport set.

LEGO Wind Turbine Transport

Plants & fruits
An effort has been done with plants. Let’s have a look at the Pick a Brick’s Accessories category, it(s very interesting to know all the fruits (apple, banana, cherry), plants (flower, flower , bamboo) and trees you may find.

LEGO Plants on Pick a Brick !

Animals
I tried to inventory all animals that LEGO created and I notice that all main classic animals are already available : monkey, frog, cow, horse, crocodile, parrot, mice, cat, dog, camel, ostrich, snake, scorpion, etc.

Ecosystems
Let’s illustrated how to create a complexe ecosystem. By creating by yourself your own animals (like ducks, flamingo, buffalo, elephant, etc.) and by utilizing the natural elements to recreate plants existing in real like fruit trees, succulents, etc. you will be able to reproduce compnexe ecosystems like rainforest, mangrove swamp, etc. To confirm my sayings, I would like to present you the Sean Kenney’s work :

Look at this amazing Sean Kenney's RainForest creation !

In his rain forest creation Sean Kenney realized an amazing ecosystem reproduction. Sean reproduced tropical plants and most of animals of this area, like buffalo and exotic birds for example.

Sean Kenney's animal creations

Sean Kenney's animal creations

Countryside
The Farm collection allows LEGO fan to create a village in which the most symbolic activity is the farm. It’s up to you to build the village.
Can we imagine to create a vineyard? It would be very interesting !

Visit LEGO Farm !

To complete this section about nature you may read also :
¬ Scenery Tutorial 2 – Plants, excellent article to create your own plants like tomatoes plant, bush, bamboo.
¬ LEGO Universe – Creation Lab : Create a plant!

Architecture, by LEGO – Be an urbanist (I) (soon) –>>

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