BIG Plans To Snap Together An Homage To Lego

When an architect is tasked with creating an homage to the greatest architectural toy brand ever created (and arguably the best all-around toy since the invention of mud) it’s almost impossible to not think like a kid rummaging through a pile of Lego bricks — especially when it is Lego itself that is being honored.

And the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), known for its playful, sometimes outlandish modular designs, is probably just the firm the job. Recently, the firm unveiled its vision for Lego House, which Lego is calling an “experience center” for all things Lego. To be located in the town of Billund, Denmark — the birthplace of Lego — the 22,800-square-foot museum-like building looks like, well, a big pile of stacked, overlapping Lego bricks, complete with the iconic rounds “studs” that hold the bricks together.

The iconic 8-pronged Lego brick caps this playful, airy design for the new Lego House in Denmark. Image via BIG.

The iconic 8-pronged Lego brick caps this playful, airy design for the new Lego House in Denmark. Image via BIG.

Along with the whimsy, however, come a few fairly serious green elements. Some of the rooms will use  extensive natural ventilation and daylighting to flood the interior spaces with sunlight and reduce electricity demand. Most notably, the top of the building contains eight circular skylights that resemble an eight-studded brick. In fact, Lego calls this upper room the Keystone and describes it as the world’s largest Lego brick.

BIG's design makes playful use of the ubiquitous toy's blocky nature. Image via BIG.

BIG’s design makes playful use of the ubiquitous toy’s blocky nature. Image via BIG.

The 100-foot-high pyramidal structure, which will rise from a flat public plaza, is divided into a series of modular blocks, each with its own separate floorplan and unique rooftop garden, some of which will be accessible by the public. Some have mazes, others are open plaza and one, in an ingenious bit of creativity, that is shaded by life-size versions of Lego’s lollipop-shaped, grid-like plastic trees.

Skylights in the shape of circular Lego "studs" help flood the interior spaces with natural light. Image via BIG.

Skylights in the shape of circular Lego “studs” help flood the interior spaces with natural light. Image via BIG.

Scheduled to break ground in early 2014 and be completed in 2016, the Lego House is expected to attract 250,000 visitors a year. Inside, each the brick-like rooms will contain nearly 82,000 square feet of exhibition spaces, a café and a retail shop for the expected throngs of tourists.

The life-size grid-like spherical trees used on one of the open rooftop balconies is a brilliant touch. Image via BIG.

The life-size grid-like spherical trees used on one of the open rooftop balconies is a brilliant touch. Image via BIG.

BIG “has designed a building that encapsulates what Lego play and Lego values are all about”, says Hans Peter Folmann, in charge of marketing for the structure. “The creative use of the Lego brick shape is a true visualization of the systematic creativity that is at the core of Lego play, so we believe that this is the right look for the Lego House. And it simply looks amazing.”

Randy Woods is a Seattle-based writer and editor with 20+ years of experience in the business publishing world. A former managing editor of Seattle Business, iSixSigma, Claims and Waste Age magazines, he has covered topics that include newspaper publishing, entrepreneurism, green businesses, insurance, environmental protection and garbage hauling (yes, really). He also contributes to the Career Center Blog for The Seattle Times and edits a photography magazine called PhotoMedia. When not working, he likes to hide out in Seattle movie theaters and attend film festivals—even on sunny days.