Denmark – Bjarke Ingels’ firm BIG completed the LEGO House in the heart of Billund, the iconic toy company’s hometown. The 21 m tall and 12.000 sqm: 21 colorful huge building blocks are stacked like LEGO bricks. The project features also a plaza open to the public and pixelated staircases leading to playful patios.
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“An old African saying says: It takes a village to raise a child. The LEGO House could be conceived three dimensional village for playing and learning – an urban space as much as architecture.” Says Bjarke Ingels.
THE PLAZA. The overlapping blocks are placed like individual buildings, framing a 2,000 m2 LEGO square that is illuminated through the cracks and gaps between the volumes. Visitors and citizens of Billund can shortcut through the building but also reach the café, restaurant, LEGO store and conference facilities.
INSIDE THE LEGO HOUSE. Above the square, a cluster of galleries overlaps to create a continuous sequence of exhibitions. Each gallery is color-coded in LEGO’s primary colors so wayfinding through the exhibitions becomes a journey through the color spectrum.
The first and second floors include four play zones arranged by color and programmed with activities that represent a certain aspect of a child’s learning: red is creative, blue is cognitive, green is social, and yellow is emotional.
A tree made from plastic building bricks sprawls up through an atrium, which is wrapped by a staircase that links floors housing giant models of dinosaurs, whole cities and mountain ranges made from the toy bricks. Like the golden ratio, the proportions of the brick are nested in the geometries of everything man-made in the building, from the glazed ceramic tiles in the steps and walls to the overall 21 block scheme.
THE MASTERPIECE GALLERY at the top of the building showcases a collection of LEGO fans’ beloved creations that pay tribute to the LEGO community. The gallery is made of the iconic 2×4 LEGO brick and showcases art beneath eight circular skylights that resemble the studs of the brick.
Atop the Masterpiece Gallery, citizens and visitors can get a 360° panoramic view of the city. Some of the rooftops can be accessed via pixelated public staircases that double as informal auditoria for people watching or seating for performances.
“LEGO house is a literal manifestation of the infinite possibilities of the LEGO brick.” Says Ingels. “Through systematic creativity children of all ages are empowered with the tools to create their own worlds and to inhabit them through play.”
“At its finest – that is what architecture – and LEGO play – is all about: enabling people to imagine new worlds that are more exciting and expressive than the status quo – and to provide them with the skills to make them reality.”
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All photos by Iwan Baan – Courtesy of BIG Bjarke Ingels Group.