How to build a house of cards with Lego bricks
In the age of Lego, it seems like the world has moved on from brick-built architecture to building things with Lego.
But what if Lego was built out of Lego bricks?
What if we could build buildings from Lego bricks, the architects have said.
Lego architecture is built around a concept of modularity.
If we want to build something we can buy bricks from another manufacturer, then we can swap bricks.
This makes a building modular.
We can build a building that will work for a certain client, we can create a building for another client and then we are ready to build another.
But this is also what makes it difficult to design buildings that will actually survive, the builders say.
“We want to be able to create a structure with the least amount of bricks, so we can build the building for someone else,” says Richard Schumann, professor of architecture at the University of St Andrews.
He’s been working on building a house from Lego for about 15 years.
In the past he’s been building structures for students from universities around the world.
In his recent study, he built a Lego house from a mix of bricks from different suppliers.
The building is about 100m x 200m x 40m (50,000 square metres) and was built from recycled Lego bricks.
The architects found that the bricks were not all interchangeable.
“One brick has an inner layer, a layer of plastic that holds the bricks together, so they’re all very close together,” Schumann says.
The bricks that were used in the house were sourced from China.
In that year alone, he found a total of 4,200 Lego bricks were used.
Lego’s own bricks are also made from recycled bricks.
But Lego has an agreement with a different supplier to sell them in Europe.
“So in the long term, we hope to have a better agreement on the bricks coming from China,” Schuman says.
He says the new study shows that Lego bricks are better than their predecessors.
But it is still unclear whether the bricks can withstand the elements.
“The bricks that we used were a little bit of a problem for us,” Schumans says.
“But it wasn’t enough for the builders to be very happy.”
Schumann and his colleagues will now be testing the new house, and it’s expected to be ready to be put into production sometime in the next year.
Building from Lego will not be a new technology, he says.
Lego has been building buildings for more than 50 years.
“You can build houses out of bricks for quite a long time now,” Schumer says.
But there is still a lot of work to do.
“What we want now is to make Lego bricks that are more durable, more resilient,” he says, adding that he hopes that the next version of Lego will have better plastic and other properties that are harder to crack.
But the builders are confident that they have made the right choice.
“I think we have made an excellent decision.
The new Lego bricks have been the best bricks we have found,” he concludes.