Amazing Kids! Magazine

Amazing Book Reviews: The Lego Architect

Written By Tom Alphin
Reviewed by Ryan Traynor, Editor-in-Chief
Published by No Starch Press

Recommended for ages 10 – adult


Okay, I admit it – I have always been a Lego maniac since I could begin to put two pieces together. My older brother would create whole cities before I could master the building art, so I always favored building characters and action scenes over city buildings. However, after I picked up The Lego Architect, my short-sighted view of the “boring” world of architecture would be changed forever. This new book opened my eyes to the multitude of architectural styles using discussions of architectural movements, photographs of famous real-life buildings, and a gallery of Lego models with step-by-step instructions to build the designs yourself.

Don’t discount this in-depth book by thinking it is just a Lego instruction manual. It is so much more than that. I found this book to be a perfect mix of pictures, writing, and instructions. To pull the reader in, the author introduces them to seven unique architectural styles paired with pictures of actual buildings, and walks the reader through the history that influenced that style of architecture. Then the reader is led into the style using Lego. Individual pieces of Lego are pointed out and shown how, when used in a certain combinations, form the basis for key elements in that style of architecture. The author literally helps the reader form the building blocks for designing their own creations in the future by helping them understand the concepts behind certain designs and how they can be integrated into big picture designs. For example, on page 85 the load-bearing structure is described, detailing how the exterior looks solid, but it actually hangs from the central structure like a curtain. By describing the construction of a load-bearing structure, the author allows the integration of this design in future creations. Photographs of completed Lego designs mirror those of real life buildings, allowing the reader to understand the possibility of construction through use of architectural elements.

According to Tom Alphin, author of The Lego Architect, “The official LEGO Architecture sets are bestsellers because they allow people to experience architecture hands-on, by recreating famous buildings. My book runs with this idea, but with the broader goal of exploring many influential architectural styles.”

I highly recommend this book for ages 10+ due to the in-depth information about history and architecture and the more advanced vocabulary used such as words like “cantilevered.” For those that are dedicated to building Legos, instructions are clear enough for almost anyone to build the items. The author uses the traditional Lego instruction format, with step-by-step instructions and pictures. To fully appreciate the research and knowledge of Mr. Alphin, however, the book is a must for children 10 and older and adults. As a pairing with an adult and child, this book will provide hours and hours of discussion and play time – a perfect combination for the budding architect in all of us. In addition, even for character builders like me, the book can open a new appreciation for not only Lego building, but the history and sheer beauty in the architecture around us.

The Lego Architect

Publisher: No Starch Press
By Tom Alphin
Print ISBN: 9781593276133, $24.95
September 2015, 4C, 192 pp.

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