Today I would like to show you a new LEGO set I recently built and I was quite impressed with. The set is from the LEGO Architecture Landmark series; #21018 LEGO Architecture United Nations Headquarters. I have been actually very pleased with the LEGO Architecture line, especially the larger sets. Just a few days ago I had a chance to see several of them displayed at the Downtown Disney LEGO Shop in Orlando, and they are even more impressive in person than on pictures. If you have a chance to visit a LEGO store near you, I highly recommend you check them out. 🙂
Going back to the #21018 LEGO Architecture UN Headquarters, it is (of course) based on the real UN building in New York. It is an iconic building both in history and in architecture. To be honest, I really dislike modernist architecture – they are ugly, intimidating, impersonal buildings looking more like a prison than a comfortable and comforting human environment. So I found it all the more impressive that LEGO was able to make such a lovely interpretation of this structure. But first let’s look at the official description, so you get an idea what this set it about.
Enjoy this imaginative interpretation of the UN Headquarters in LEGO bricks! Standing on the banks of New York City’s East River, the United Nations Headquarters has become one of the world’s most iconic buildings. Now you can recreate this amazing tribute to modernism in no less than 597 LEGO bricks, from the smooth façade to the building at its base. Designed mainly by Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer, the cornerstone was laid in 1949 and it was completed just three years later. This soaring architectural triumph is part of the LEGO Architecture Landmark series that pays tribute to some of the world’s greatest buildings and makes a fine addition to your desk, office or playroom.
- This building is part of the LEGO Landmark series celebrating iconic world buildings
- Read the enclosed booklet in English and French giving fascinating details of its design and history
- Build the United Nations Headquarters from 597 individual LEGO bricks
- Build one of Le Corbusier and Niemeyer’s greatest achievements in LEGO bricks
- Have your own version of the iconic United Nations Headquarters standing on your desk or office!
- Measures 8” (21cm) wide, 5” high (14cm), 6” (15cm) deep
The LEGO United Nations Headquarters is a quite large set, built on a base of three 8×16 plates in a frame (the final model is 26×18 studs), and the main building is a bit over 13 LEGO bricks tall. So yeah, it is impressive. But even more interesting is the building-techniques used. It took me a couple of hours to assemble the set and I was never bored in the process. 😀
One of the main aspects of the LEGO Architecture sets is that they are built to be small replicas of real landmarks – as accurate as possible in such a scale. The accuracy is achieved by using lots of small LEGO elements, unique building techniques, interesting details, and in general not cutting corners. By that I mean that a section that could easily be built with a half a dozen parts and would still be fairly accurate, is in fact built using three times as many elements and assembled in unusual ways to remain as faithful as possible to the original building. (Quite a feat for replicating some of the more complex architectural designs.)
The LEGO Architecture sets are also excellent examples of the way LEGO designers interpret a real-life structure and translate it to LEGO; working with the essence of a building and highlighting its key features so it is instantly recognizable. And at the same time adding very unique building techniques, so not just the final model, but the building experience itself is enjoyable and educational. In fact, LEGO and architecture is really a match made in heaven. (I highly recommend checking out the #21050 LEGO Architecture Studio set where you learn to model architecture and design concepts with LEGO. You can read my review on it here: LEGO Architecture Studio Set Review)
The LEGO Architecture series is also a great study of LEGO micro-building; taking advantage of the color, shape and size of LEGO elements and using them in very creative ways to represent entire structures. And I would say that this is what I enjoy most about the LEGO Architecture sets – they are very educational and you can learn quite a bit from them about designing and building with LEGO.
Besides the building experience, the final models of the LEGO Architecture series are quite stunning. They are really meant to be center-pieces on a desk of a CEO, or on the display shelf in the lobby of a company. You would not for a moment think that these are children’s toys. They are models, maquettes, replicas… and the building material just happens to be LEGO. The LEGO UN Headquarters turned out particularly sweet with all the white elements contrasted with those gorgeous trans-blue windows.
If you have never built a LEGO Architecture set before, I suggest that you give them a try. I especially recommend some of the larger, $50+ range sets to maximize your building and learning experience, plus have an impressive model to display. But some of the smaller sets are also quite interesting. Anyway, try them! I think you will be very impressed and might just get hooked. They are not as popular and sexy as for example LEGO Star Wars or LEGO Super Heroes, and some people only look at LEGO Architecture sets to see what “useful” parts they contain for building something else, but I’m here to tell you that with their quiet elegance the LEGO Architecture sets are clear winners! 🙄
Each of the LEGO Architecture sets come with a glossy, high quality booklet about the landmark’s history, and the building-instructions. Even the set boxes are classy; black, sleek and sturdy – much nicer that normal LEGO boxes! The #21018 LEGO Architecture United Nations Headquarters, along with other LEGO Architecture sets are available at some gift-shops of landmark buildings, at LEGO stores, and at the Online LEGO Shop.
If you have already built a LEGO Architecture set before I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with it. Do you have a favorite? What did you like about it the most? Also, if you have any questions about this, or any of the other LEGO Architecture sets, feel free to ask in the comment section below! 😉
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