When you have three boys (as I do), there’s a high probability that your house will contain at least a few hundred Lego building bricks. We may have closer to ten thousand. Our collection started when my oldest son was a kindergartner. He’s due to graduate from high school in a few weeks. A dozen years of Lego collecting can add up. Factor in his two brothers, dozens of birthdays and holidays, and we’re talking massive quantities of the brick.
I give you this history to help you understand why I was so blown away when I heard about James May’s Lego House. Now my kids have built Lego houses before. We even had a 2 foot square replica of Wal-Mart (complete with nail salon and auto center) sitting in our toy room at one point. But when James May (the guy from Top Gear) decides to build a Lego house, he means a real Lego house. Like the kind you live in.
Back in 2009 Mr. May was doing a series of TV shows called Toy Stories, that celebrated classic children’s toys. This is when he decided to go all out and build himself a two story home. He didn’t want to just build squares, he wanted a building that looked like a house, complete with details like tea pots on the kitchen counter and a kitten on the bed.
Once construction was complete, including a working sink, washing machine, shower and toilet,Mr. May spent a night sleeping in it, on his brick bed.
Not long after that night the colorful structure was demolished. It was just too expensive to move from its location in a friend’s vineyard.
Fortunately a book was created, documenting the project. The publisher sent me a copy, and my family spent many nights poring over its pages. The logistics fascinated my older sons. How do you build a structure out of Lego when you can’t find a community that will issue a building permit for untested building materials? How do you make sure the top floor is supported enough to not collapse on itself? How do you plan how many bricks you’ll need? How long would it physically take to snap millions of bricks together?
The book covers all of these questions, and many more that we’d never even thought of. Who knew there was a maximum order limit of 3 million bricks? How would you do the math to figure out the number of bricks that would be required? And what test would you do to figure out how long it would take and how many volunteers you’d need? It pleased me greatly to see my boys discussing the project, unified in their quest to answer these questions. As Lego builders themselves, they could personally imagine taking on this challenge.
I highly recommend this book for any family that has Lego lovers in its mix, especially those who love to build structures. There are lots of great pictures and the text is laid out in a friendly, informative manner, making it suitable for builders of all ages. You can pick it up for a mere 10 bucks on Amazon . It’s the kind of book Lego fans will look at again and again.
On a related note, if you’ve discovered the fun in playing Settlers of Catan, and you’re also a Lego lover, check out this amazing replica of the board and its pieces. Now that I’ve seen this game constructed in Lego, I may never look at it the same way again, when it’s brought out on family game night.