One practice meets all youngsters' - and adults' - dreams with a life-size 'LEGO House'

Having recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, LEGO has been a family-favourite for many generations. The creativity and ingenuity boost these vividly-coloured building blocks contribute to children’s creative education is unparalleled and still stimulates the minds of youngsters today. So, just imagine the enchantment a life-size LEGO house would offer a child, and the nostalgia it would present to adults. That’s precisely what Copenhagen- and New York-based architectural firm, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), has bestowed on the residents and tourists of Billund, Denmark; an out-of-this-world structure fabricated from one of the world’s favourite educational toys; LEGO.



IG’s LEGO House is a literal manifestation of the infinite possibilities of the LEGO brick. Through systematic creativity, children of all ages are empowered with the tools to create their own worlds and to inhabit them through play. At its finest, that is what architecture – and LEGO play – is all about; enabling people to imagine new worlds that are more exciting and expressive than the status quo – and to provide them with the skills to make them a reality. This is what children do every day with LEGO bricks – and this is what we have done at LEGO House with actual bricks, taking Billund a step closer towards becoming the capital for children,” comments Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner at BIG.

The town’s centrepiece

BIG and LEGO bring the toy scale of the classic LEGO brick to an architectural scale with the LEGO House project, forming vast exhibition spaces and public squares that embody the culture and values at the heart of all LEGO experiences. Due to its central location in the heart of Billund, the 23m-tall LEGO House is conceived as an urban space as much as an experience centre.

21 overlapping blocks are placed like individual buildings, framing a 2000m² LEGO square that is illuminated through the cracks and gaps between the volumes. The plaza appears like an urban cave without any visible columns and is publicly accessible, allowing visitors and citizens of Billund to shortcut through the building.

The LEGO square is energised by an urban character, welcoming locals and visitors to the cafe, restaurant, LEGO store and conference facilities. Above the square, a cluster of galleries overlap to create a continuous sequence of exhibitions. Each gallery is colour-coded in LEGO’s primary colours so wayfinding through the exhibitions becomes a journey through the colour spectrum.

Colour influences

The first and second floors include four play zones arranged by colour and programmed with activities that represent a certain aspect of a child’s learning – red is creative, blue is cognitive, green is social and yellow is emotional. Guests of all ages can have an immersive and interactive experience, express their imagination, and not least be challenged by meeting other builders from all over the world.

The top of the building is crowned by the ‘Masterpiece Gallery’, a collection of LEGO fans’ beloved creations that pay tribute to the LEGO community. The Masterpiece Gallery is made of the iconic 2 x 4 LEGO brick and showcases art beneath eight circular skylights that resemble the studs of the brick. Like the golden ratio, the proportions of the brick are nested in the geometries of everything man-made in the building, from the glazed ceramic tiles in the steps and walls to the overall 21-block scheme.

Galleries and exhibitions

Atop the Masterpiece Gallery, citizens and visitors can get a 360° panoramic view of the city. Some of the rooftops can be accessed via pixelated public staircases that double as informal auditoria for people watching or seating for performances. The History Collection at the lower level is where visitors can experience an archival immersion into the LEGO company and brand’s story. The Vault – located underneath LEGO Square – is where children and ‘AFoLs’ (Adult Fans of LEGO) can witness the first edition of almost every LEGO set ever manufactured, including the new 774-piece, 197-step kit replicating the stacked-block formation of the LEGO House.

Fact File

Project: Lego House
Year: 2017
Type: Competition
Client: LEGO
Collaborators: Cowi, Dr. Lüchinger+meyer Bauingenieure, Jesper Kongshaug, Gade & Mortensen Akustik, E-types
Size: 12,000m²
Location: Billund, Denmark
Partners in charge: Bjarke Ingels, Finn Nørkjær, Brian Yang
Project leader: Brian Yang
Project manager: Finn Nørkjær
Project architect: Snorre Nash
Project architect, facades: Snorre Nash Team Andreas Klok Pedersen, Agne Tamasauskaite, Annette Birthe Jensen, Ariel Joy Norback Wallner, Ask Hvas, Birgitte Villadsen, Chris Falla, Christoffer Gotfredsen, Daruisz Duong Vu Hong, David Zahle, Esben Christoffersen, Franck Fdida, Ioana Fartadi Scurtu, Jakob Andreassen, Jakob Ohm Laursen, Jakob Sand, Jakub Matheus Wlodarczyk, Jesper Bo Jensen, Jesper Boye Andersen, Julia Boromissza, Kasper Reimer Hansen, Katarzyna Krystyna Siedlecka, Katarzyna Stachura, Kekoa Charlot, Leszek Czaja, Lone Fenger Albrechtsen, Louise Bøgeskov Hou, Mads Enggaard Stidsen, Magnus Algreen Suhr, Manon Otto, Marta Christensen, Mathias Bank Stigsen, Michael Kepke, Ole Dau Mortensen, Ryohei Koike, Sergiu Calacean, Søren Askehave, Stefan Plugaru, Stefan Wolf, Thomas Jakobsen Randbøll, Tobias Hjortdal, Tommy Bjørnstrup.

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