Concrete, Rammed earth… and Lego Bricks?

As I was riding my bike back from studio this evening in this wonderful, sunny Charleston weather… well kind of… I was thinking of what got me starting to like our unique, creative, and sometimes brutal field of architecture and design- I was also worrying about how much work we have ahead of us to merge so many ideas and finally make the many choices for materials, structure, and much more; but maybe this complicated process of collaborative design can reference back to simpler times, and a simple toy many of us played with when we were kids.

Today’s class began as it has for the past couple of days- everyone bringing in a plethora of ideas, inspirations, and images, followed by a discussion and new division of groups to try and mold these random ideas into something functional and beautiful.  This unusual process of group work and our recent discussion of concrete blocks got me thinking about what got me interested in architecture years ago… my first set of Lego bricks. 

I can’t help but draw a comparison between Lego brick construction and our current design process for our shade structure for Corrine Jones Park, as well as other collaborative projects.  Lego bricks come in a rainbow of colors, shapes, forms, and sizes- and it is the challenge of the ‘young architect’ to take these many shapes and colors and creatively build something interesting and beautiful (unless you cheat and use the directions…which I never did!).  So, for the reference to our project…. We can look at our multiple ideas and schemes as a different color or shape of Lego brick; we just have to figure out how to arrange and build these bricks (and figure out which bricks not to use….that happens too!) in order to create a stunning and unique piece of architecture- in our case, the Corrine Jones Park shade structure. 

So let’s hope we arrange the bricks correctly the first time, because concrete blocks aren’t as easy to take apart and rebuild as Lego bricks!

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