Using the LEGO® brick as his medium, architectural artist Adam Reed Tucker has given some of the worlds most iconic landmarks an unexpected makeover. His towering interpretations, which soar up to 18 feet high, will be the centerpiece of a new exhibition opening at the National Building Museum
this July. LEGO® Architecture: Towering Ambition will feature 15 of Tuckers large-scale artistic models, which at times incorporate up to 450,000 LEGO bricks. The exhibition will provide a new, detailed look at the intricate design, engineering complexity, and sculptural form of famous city buildings such as the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center, and the St. Louis Gateway Arch. Opening July 3, 2010, the exhibition will remain on view through September 5, 2011.
LEGO® Architecture: Towering Ambition will provide a rare, behind-the-scenes look at Tuckers artistic process. While the exhibition is on view, Tucker will work on completing his latest LEGO architectural project, which is of the most recognizable building in Washington, DC: The White House.
In addition, the exhibition will include a hands-on, minds-on opportunity for visitorsboth young and young at heartto create their own LEGO buildings, sponsored by an in-kind donation from LEGO Systems Inc. Based on the principles of good urban design, visitors will be invited to create a building from one of four categoriesresidential, commercial, institutional, and industrialand then place the models on a 12-foot by 15-foot map of a city. As the day goes on and the Museum welcomes more visitors, the LEGO city will continue to grow.
In todays fast-paced culture, the sophisticated and well-structured design of our cities, roads, and buildings is largely overlooked, says Chase W. Rynd, executive director of the National Building Museum. But Adam Reed Tuckers inspired vision and accessible process allows us to slow down and examine the complexities and the beauty of our built environment and its impact on our lives.
At the age of six, Tucker visited the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago where his aunt bought him one of his first LEGO sets. He went on to study architecture in college and practiced as a professional architect for ten years. Then, motivated by the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Tucker began to consider how he might express his reverence for the form of the skyscraper while deepening his understanding of architecture, engineering, and construction. The challenge for Tucker was to find a way to express the complexity of skyscraper engineering while softening its intimidating nature. His solution was to level the playing field with something that most people grew up with and could relate to no matter who they were or where they came from: the LEGO brick.
As an artists medium, says Tucker, the brick is not initially thought of as a material typically used in creating art. But as an architectural artist, it lends itself perfectly to my applications just as paint to a painter or metal to a blacksmith. I first and foremost do not view my models as literal replicas but rather artistic interpretations that capture the essence of their sculptural form.
Tuckers process begins by examining photos, elevations, and artist renderings. He also considers design principles such as proportion, scale, form, and shadow. His pieces are scratch-built, meaning that he does not use computer modeling, pencil and paper, or written directions in his work. Tucker has built and re-built certain sections of buildings five or six times until he feels they are right.
Tucker is a LEGO Certified Professionalone of 11 worldwide. He now owns and operates Brickstructures, Inc, which was established to promote the use of LEGO bricks in relation to architecture, engineering, and construction. Brickstructures, Inc. arranges events and explores educational activities in conjunction with architectural firms, institutions, and landmarks.
Lego Architecture Series
Tucker has partnered with The LEGO Group as the creative developer and distributor of the LEGO Architecture series. These models allow fans of all ages to collect and construct iconic architectural sites, including the Space Needle in Seattle, the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) and John Hancock Center in Chicago, and New Yorks Empire State Building. Each LEGO Architecture set contains a booklet featuring step-by-step building instructions that is prefaced by archival history, information, and photographs of each building, its design origin, its architect, and its architectural features.
The newest addition to the series, The White House, will be launched in conjunction with the exhibition. The model is a simple, yet stunning replica of the 55,000 square-foot blended Neoclassical, Federalist, and Irish Palladian structure. The set will be available for purchase at the Museum Shop. It will retail for $49.99.