Skip to comments.If Frank Lloyd Wright had LEGOs ...
Posted on 05/30/2009 5:34:23 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin
Frank Lloyd Wright and LEGO would seem an unnatural fit: curve meets corner, prairie meets cube.
But like a red brick and a yellow brick, the worldwide trademarks are now joined with a blue brick, an Illinois company called Brickstructures, in creating and selling LEGO building block versions of Wrights iconic creations, Fallingwater and the Solomon Guggenheim Museum.
Can Madisons Monona Terrace be far behind? And how will the notoriously formal Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation handle its partnership with a worldwide company that also puts out a SpongeBob SquarePants model?
Youll have to make your own LEGO Monona Terrace, said Adam Reed Tucker, an architectural artist and the imagination behind the kit versions being introduced this summer in conjunction with the anniversaries of the Guggenheim and Fallingwater.
Tucker, an energetic 37-year-old who took the Wright idea to LEGO three years ago, has developed the LEGO Architecture series, which now includes six models of recognizable buildings including the Sears Tower, the Seattle Space Needle and the Empire State Building.
The Wright Foundation which keeps a tight fist clamped on designs by Wright, considered by many to be the greatest American architect brought in more than $880,000 in licensing fees in 2007, according to tax records. The foundation claims to have considered pursuing an association with the 77-year-old LEGO company for several years, according to a statement from Doug Volker, director of licensing and product development.
Tucker would not speculate Friday on whether additional Wright designs would be included in the series, but he said he has already received more than 100 suggestions along that theme. He said he is a fan of Taliesin in Spring Green, and e-mailed a photograph taken two years ago at Taliesin of him holding an early version of a LEGO Fallingwater model.
The Wright buildings idea was three years in the making and 18 months in development, Tucker said.
I approached LEGO group in 2006 and then we formed a pilot agreement in 2007, a formal partnership in 2008, he said.
The Guggenheim model, with 208 pieces, is marketed at $45 plus $10 shipping mail order from Brickstructures. The Fallingwater (a home in Pennsylvania) model will have 811 pieces including a plastic waterfall and cost $99.99.
Tucker already has heard criticism that the models are too simple, or not truly detailed enough as Wright models. He said that considering the criteria necessary, the versions are true to an art form.
When he was a boy playing with LEGOs, I used my imagination to build on the side, in addition to what was pictured on the box. It is different today there are some amazing sets but once the kids build them, they may not take them apart. I am trying to bring back that fundamental idea (to keep building). In these models I try not to use any specialized pieces, he said.
The final product is a compromise that remains true to the Wright design, but not so specifically detailed that it would make the purchase prohibitive, he said.
The criteria include the cost and price, and trying to figure out a comfort zone with sales. Sure, we could do some ... sets that might cost $300 to $400, but we want people of all ages to explore architecture. You cant do that if you out-price yourself, he said.
I have tried as an architectural artist to capture the essence of the structure in a simplified manner, so people without architectural background can appreciate and understand these pieces, he said.
Wrights Monona Terrace appears to be way down the list when it comes to potential LEGO Architecture kits, so a master builder intent on recreating the convention center on the lake will have to rely on imagination, dauntless energy and a lot of curvy rare for LEGO bricks.
Spokeswoman Fran Puleo said Monona Terrace has hosted childrens contests to build models, but never had a LEGO model. Notice of the new kits may inspire such a contest, she said.
The Monona Terrace gift shop already is looking into carrying the new LEGO Architecture models, she said.
As of Friday, the Guggenheim kit was temporarily sold out at the Brickstructures Web site, and orders were limited to one per customer. The Fallingwater kit will be available later this summer, Tucker said.
Monona Terrace (Convention Center), Madison, WI. Some call it, "The Mistake on the Lake."
Frank Lloyd Wright's "Fallingwater" -- a home in Pennsylvania -- is the other Wright design included in LEGO's Architecture line of products.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, John Lloyd Wright, was the man who created Lincoln Logs.
FLW stuff is very dated, to my eyes at least.
This is very cool. Let’s hope the LEGO versions are more structurally sound than the originals.
Really? I didn’t know that. I thought Abraham Lincoln invented them...it had his face on the box when I was a kid, LOL! ;)
I’ve been in many of his homes and buildings. They are absolutely breath-taking to behold, but you don’t want to live in one.
The maintenance and upkeep is astronomical with all of those flat roofs and straight lines, especially in Snow Country, and they really aren’t very energy efficient or comfortable to be in, temperature wise.
I appreciate the art of it, but they were not practical in any way, shape or form, IMHO.
Get some acute angle LEGOs and build some I. M. Pei.
FLW was never about comfort, you are so right. But he did love beauty. He fit buildings into the enviroment, not the environment into the building.
There is a house for sale now in the suburbs of Chicago. People know it as the “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” house. It has hints of FLW and Phillip Johnson, but it was built by architects A. James Speyer and David Haid. The house is on sale for $2.3 million, and in this sad real estate market, people are betting that is going to go for more.
It may not be comfortable, but it IS beautiful. And in the FLW tradition.
One of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever been in was in Acapulco in 1976 or so. A girlfriend and I took a vacation after HS Graduation and we were invited to a party that was filled with (future) Movie Stars and all sorts of ‘beautiful people.’ (We WERE pretty cute in those days; they must’ve thought we were Rich American Girls with Rich Daddies to back movies or something, LOL!) This was near where John Wayne had his house in Acapulco.
The house was built INTO a cliff, and the pool seemed to ‘float’ out over the cliff and Acapulco Bay. There were hardly any walls in the place; the house just seemed to levitate on the mountainside; it was pretty cool.
I’ll never forget it.
So yes, architecture is about beauty and not about practicality. It started to rain later in the evening, and it was quite wet & windy right there in the living room, LOL!
That’s pretty cool! :)
Wright is over-rated. Never really liked his designs. Monona Terrace, not impressed. Looks like space ships landed on the lakeshore.
Hey! How ‘bout that Doyle budget! Vicki M says if it all passes, we’ll be worse off than California!
Any idea if there is an Independence Day tax revolt rally at the Capitol Square? I’ll be there if there is one planned. Already have a friend who wants to go with.
I think there’s one planned for July 4th. Vicki will keep us informed. :)
Wisconsin IS going into the fiscal cr@pper. Count on it. Hopefully Scott Walker can pull us out of it next time ‘round. ;)
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