When Lego approached BIG to design an “experience center” in the company’s hometown that would foster play with their iconic toy bricks, the architects “went nuts,” says founding partner Bjarke Ingels. As a jumping-off point, he and his team filled an entire room with the toy pieces and established a creative limitation for their design. “We challenged ourselves with the dogma that we wouldn’t design anything that couldn’t be buildable with LEGO bricks,” says Ingels. Using the “golden ratio” of a standard two-by-four block, the architects scaled up to create a 129,000-square-foot structure, which resembles 21 giant stacked LEGO bricks. The steel-framed building, clad with ceramic tile, contains four playground-like zones, restaurants, conference facilities, and gallery spaces. As it turns out, remaining faithful to the toy brick’s dimensions isn’t all that unusual. “The proportions of LEGO already saturate the world around us,” Ingels observes. But the conceit, taken to an extreme, transforms a beloved element of fantastical creations into a surreal reality.
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