On August 1st, LEGO released a new kit in its series of building block design sets marketed specifically to architecture enthusiasts. LEGO’s Architecture Studio Kit, from its Architecture Series of adult-catered building sets, consists of 1,200 all white and translucent plastic bricks but no instructions. The free-for-all kit is endorsed by MAD Architects of Beijing and comes with a guidebook of architecture building exercises. Michael Bleby of Business Review Weekly writes that this set “is the first in the range to focus on creativity and architectural principles, rather than a specific architectural icon.” A modernist’s dream that costs significantly less than others within the series, LEGO may possibly have caught onto a new niche market. Especially when reviews thus far of the landmark-specific Architecture Series have been mixed from architects and enthusiasts alike.
The Architecture Series offers sets of building blocks that instruct users to create small versions of famous architectural landmarks, houses, and buildings ranging from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater to the White House. Sets are built for the novelty of owning a miniature model, not for the purpose of play and constant redesign, like the traditional primary-colored LEGO bricks marketed at children.
However, Business Review Weekly reports that architects purchasing the sets for personal use are increasingly dissatisfied with the scale, lack of detail, and high price of the Architecture sets. In an Architizer critique of the LEGO series, AJ Artemel questions whether these Series sets with their limited pieces, instructions, and purpose actually hinder creativity rather than encourage it: “It seems as if the sort of learning discovered through play and exploration can only take place in an environment with many options and lots of flexibility. And without the large degree of interchangeability offered by LEGO’s sandbox-style sets, the ‘systematic’ overwhelms the ‘creativity.’”
In comparison, designs created by owners of the newly released Architecture Studio Kit have no presupposed end. Available online for only $150, builders have creative freedom with the colorless set. Within the constant critique of the architecture world, LEGO’s new set promises space for architectural experiment, done in miniature plastic bricks.