Become a LEGO Architect With ‘The LEGO Architect’ by Tom Alphin

Books Toys
Image: No Starch Press
Image: No Starch Press

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been thrilled to build an ever-growing LEGO collection. I’ve also developed a budding passion for architecture, thanks to Jenny’s love of classic styles. When I saw that No Starch Press was releasing a book to teach readers about architecture using LEGO, I had to check it out. The book has lessons discussing the histories of different styles, and provides twelve interesting designs to put those ideas in a physical example. The LEGO Architect has sucked me in for hours, and I can’t wait to build all of the plans.

First, the author, Tom Alphin, gives lessons on the history and function of different styles. Each section also features pictures of classic examples of that type. From the Robie House to the Salk Institute, the pictures bring the best of each style to light. Each style is then followed by between one and four builds for you to bring to life.

The styles include:

  • Neoclassical
  • Prairie
  • Art Deco
  • Modernism
  • Brutalism
  • Postmodern
  • High-tech
Image: No Starch Press with Modifications (lower right by Rory Bristol)
Image: No Starch Press with Modifications (lower right by Rory Bristol)

I started with the Neoclassical, and had a lot of fun making a poor-man’s Monticello. Above, you can see three of the features of the “Domed Building.” Features are highlighted in the description, and pictures on the left tell you about what you are building. I decided to build it with my wife’s LEGO Architecture Set. The parts list was quite heavy on some pieces, so I had to make some serious substitutions, but none of them actually detracted much from the piece as a whole.

Monticello Substitutions
Image: Rory Bristol

I had to replace some of the 2-to-1 jumpers (part 3794) with extra finishers (part 3069) and grills (part 2412) to fill in the gaps. It worked surprisingly well. I also had to substitute some of the arches. The pattern called for 4 3-pip arches (4490), but I didn’t have any, so I made the windows flat, more similar to the real-world Monticello. The substitutions were easily made, and I had plenty of options to boot.

The instructions were easy to follow, and the lessons were well written. My appreciation for several styles is improved. I’d have never known that the Robie House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, was from the Prairie style, which is traditionally a Midwestern style. I had to take apart our home’s LEGO Robie House to check it out.

The book wraps up with a Builder’s Guide chapter. In this chapter, readers learn about human scale, minifigure scale, and microscale. From there, they learn about form, detail, and color, and how they make an impact on the piece. Finally, there’s a short section addressing bricks, including transformers, Technic parts, and accessories, and suggestions for their uses, and a note regarding storage.

The LEGO Architect will be released on September 25th. In the meantime, folks who order via No Starch Press‘s website will get pre-release content, starting Friday, August 21st!

The LEGO Architect is available for pre-order for $17.59 on Amazon.

The LEGO Architect is NOT officially endorsed by LEGO.
No Starch Press provided a copy of this product for review purposes.

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