My LEGO Projects

After seeing what my fellow MichLUGgers had created, I became fairly jealous. I thought that I would focus on some University buildings from the schools my wife and I had attended. I have since built three: The Troy Building from RPI, TECH Tower from Georgia Tech and Burton Tower from the University of Michigan. I have started to design a building from the college where I work, URI, but I just keep doing other things instead. I spent a good deal of time building digitally (especially during the LEGO Universe days). I also like creating small vignettes. I did build a working model of the "leg lamp" from the movie "A Christmas Story." Even the lightbulb is made of LEGO (8 Power Functions LEDs) and it comes complete with fishnet stockings made of LEGO Spiderman nets sewn together with LEGO winch cable strings. I also made a microscale skyline of Providence, which is displayed in the Providence LEGO store. However, my passion is spaceships. Whenever I am just free building, it ends up being a spaceship. I suppose my next project should be something in space!

Building large structures is somewhat time consuming, and I do have a regular job. This list represents the last twenty years of my LEGO building. I wish I had time to build more. I just love building with LEGO.

For the buildings that I create, I am inspired by the original architecture itself. I try to find ways to represent the forms of what I am creating rather than copying it exactly. LEGO has a lot of problems when it comes to making exact replicas of real things. Mostly, you can’t. You have to learn that LEGO scale (at least with respect to minifigures) is wacky. The heights are usually way too short. If you made buildings to really mimic reality they would dwarf the figures. So everything is intentionally too small. In my community, we call this “selective compression.” You find a representation to get the idea across, anything more is superfluous.

Even for non-minifigure builds, such as my wedding cake or the leg lamp, you have to avoid trying to be exact. Round never really works well in LEGO, but you can make the eye see round, with the right pattern of jagged edges. I have heard one of the first challenges a new LEGO designer employee is given is to build a sphere. Making curved things out of blocks is one of the more amazing things you can do with LEGO. So, that leads to my other biggest inspiration--geometry. I love to explore different shapes, just to see what I can get out of them.

One thing that I really like to do is research the thing that I am creating. I will always start with a bit in my head of how it should look, but then research will bring me another way. I’ll find some kind of element or design that others find meaningful, and I will try to incorporate that in--even if it is very subtle. I like to think that my designs represent a culmination from other people’s designs incorporated in a unique manner.