Friday, 19 February 2016

A brick of a book

A rather over lavish production when it only shows images of twenty-two Lego models.  The square format book is mostly gloss black pages (good for attracting finger prints) that examine the models.  Each gets an introduction spread followed by four or five spreads that have a short essay and photo of the real building, photos of the model and with several a beautiful, fascinating exploded view with arrowed captions detailing the construction and the types of bricks used.  The last spread for each model has a big color photo of the real building and some text.  It's rather unfortunate that these photos vary in quality unlike all the model photos which were taken in a studio and have a uniform look.

Most of the models were created by Adam Reed Tucker, they were then worked on by builders who find the best way of producing the model using LEGO.  Tucker makes a very interesting comment about the Guggenheim Museum: 'This was probably the trickiest of all the buildings in the series to interpret in LEGO bricks. The key is that the model is a representation, not an exact replica.'  As they are not exact replicas excuses what I think are some of problems with the models, so many of the real buildings have curves that are difficult to create using right-angle bricks.  The Guggenheim's spiral gallery is abandoned and replaced with six frisbee like shapes.  The bottom to top tapering of Chicago's John Hancock Center is replaced with four reducing in thickness cubes and the distinctive lattice work on each side is gone.  The buildings that I think work best are the Rockefeller Center and Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye, both are essentially right-angled structures though the Villa has a large curved section on the roof but the model creates this quite successfully.

It seems the model builders try to use existing LEGO bricks rather than create ones that only apply to a model and can't really be used with any LEGO.  The sail like roofs of the Sydney Opera House have curved bricks mostly used for the fuselage of an aircraft or rocket ship models.  It's a shame that any aerials on the top of some buildings don't have a much thinner rod like piece (look at the book's cover) those on the Empire State, Hancock Center, Willis Tower, Burj Khalifa, Seattle Space Needle and the Eiffel Tower look really out of proportion to the rest of these buildings.

Will the next twenty or so models get a volume two?  Possibly, though it needn't be as lavish as this one with its heavy slipcase, all the text in silver ink and basically reprinting all the information about the real building that comes  with each model's construction booklet.

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