LEGO 21050 Architecture Studio – First impression

This week on Life of a Constructing Architect will be focused on Architecture Studio. The set number 21050 has been waiting for me patiently for a month. And now, with the exams behind me, I could finally open it. Architecture studio is not a standard set. The sets are called sets, because it is a collection of specific bricks, which can form what the designers intended. The one official build. You are certainly encouraged to experiment, try your own creations and modify. However this set has no official form. It is like one of those creative boxes for young kids, only this one is for kids who pay bills and taxes.

The first thing that pops out when you open the package is the book. That is another thing that makes this set unique. Some of sets, especially from the architecture line, contain a short booklet about the building, before the building instructions. But here, you are getting full 270 pages long book about architecture. And this book cannot be bought separetely. Edited by Christopher Turner in collaboration with many famous architectural practices from around the world. MVRDV, SOM, REX, Safdie architects, Sou Fujimoto, Tham & Videgaard, MAD and KRADS architects, all of these left a mark in this book. However I will probably make a separete review just for the book itself. So let’s focus on bricks.

You are greeted by 15 bags, which are filled with 1210 bricks. At first it did not look like a big number. And then I started to sort the bricks. When you take each type of brick to your hand, count it and sort it, it suddenly feels like huge number.

I spent around two hours just sorting the bricks. I wanted to know what do I have at my disposal. It was so tranquil just take each brick to hand and relocate it to the box. There are many different kinds and all in them are white. It is important to focus only on the shapes, volumes and textures and not the colors.

And at the end of the day. Every brick was counted and sorted. Now I know what can I use and I can start reading the book and building. And after I will spend some time with it. I will write a proper review both for the book and the set itself.

And here is the whole studio sorted. The only color in the sea of white and transparent is the bright orange brick separator.

Cheers

Ondrej

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Modular Odyssey – Danish Bricks nr. 1

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And that quote is especially true for Danmark. Danish people love their brick houses. Bricks are considered aesthetically pleasant and their durability has been proven by centuries of use. First bricks were produced more than 800 years ago and although more expensive than timber, they slowly replaced it because of their fire resistance. The capital of Denmark, Copenhagen, is predominantly built from bricks and most other cities as well. Denmark is a country built on clay as well as built from clay. Bricks are produced mainly around the Flensborg Fjord, close to German borders. There are many producers and the brick sizes may vary, although “Danish standard brick” is the most common. IMG_0514.JPG

Standard danish brick has a size of 228x108x54 mm. And it is an example of a module. When we want to dimension a building made of bricks, we have to observe, how are two bricks put together. Between bricks, there is a mortar joint, holding them together. This joint is 12 mm thick. That gives us 240 mm when we have a full brick with a joint. This is a basic unit. Module measurement. When we want to create an opening in brick wall, we have to think about the second joint that will be left out on the other side, hence the openings are 12 mm wider than module measurements. And finally, pier measurements, that might be for example length of the wall, corner to corner. There we have one less joint and therefore we subtract one joint. In the sketch below you can see an example with two bricks.IMG_0517.JPG

One of the reasons why the bricks are so strong is because of the bonding. The force applied to the last course of bricks is spread evenly to bricks below. If the joints are stacked above, each segment of the wall might tumble over.

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And when you put more bricks together, wall is made. And it gives the building the proper scale. The bricks are sized to be put together by hand, the size is just right to quickly put them together by bricklayer. And that gives the buildings the proper human scale.

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And they age so beautifully.

What do you think about bricks? Do you use them in your country? Have you seen any interesting details made of bricks?

Cheers

Ondrej