The Lego House by Clive Elsdon Building Design

As a child I loved my LEGO!

There was hardly anywhere my LEGO didn’t go with me, including many caravan holidays! One of those holidays ended in disaster just outside Gretna Green as my dad towed the caravan back from Scotland! A massive gust of wind overturned our beloved Sprite Alpine, suspending our three speed Ford Consul from its draw-bar, with my Grandma and a young me on the back seat! The rear wheels of the car weren’t even touching the ground! The vision of the caravan on its side through the curved back window of the car is imprinted on my memory, as is the sight of a big crane driver and other people running out between the traffic to rescue my LEGO bricks off the tarmac! They had been inside a 1950’s bread bin in the caravan, and had somehow spilled out onto the road.

New Home Promise

In 1996 my mother used to relate a tail to anyone who visited her in her new home. She used to tell them that when I was about eight, living in a bungalow in Middlesbrough (having just relocated there from Durham) I was building a LEGO house and that I  turned to her and said that one day I’d build her a real house to retire to. At that time I had no inkling what career path I would take, in fact Train Driver or Cowboy was probably more on my mind than anything to do with Architecture!

In 1996 though, my mother knew that to some extent at least I had kept that childhood promise! I hadn’t actually built the house of course! We had a builder to do that, but I had designed it, applied for the planning permission and achieved building regulation approval. I had produced the drawings that the builder had had in his site cabin, the ones with the dimensions, notes and specifications which meant he knew what we wanted him to build. My mother had seen a sketch on a piece of paper become a detailed drawing and then take shape on site! She had seen a piece of empty land in Weardale, County Durham be transformed into her new home.

Childhood Revisited

Today, in the loft of that home is a 1950’s Bread Bin. It looks played with, it even has a little surface rust on it, but inside it is still full to the brim of the most wonderful educational toy in the whole world, LEGO! The toy that lead me to a career in architecture! Rummaging through the loft the other day, I came across the tin, brought it down and decided to build something with it. I also decided to make an animation, and yes, that animation which you can watch here features bricks rescued from the middle of a road after that caravan accident.

Perhaps another small irony is that the caravan was bought off the insurers by a builder and became a site cabin!

The Lego House Video

I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did making it, and as much as I enjoyed the childhood memories building something from LEGO brought back!

That Burning Childhood question of “How tall would a Lego Tower be before the bottom brick collapsed? ” has now been answered…

Lego Bricks

Lego – The raw material that may lead to an Architectural Career!

As we come up to Christmas perhaps rather than thinking of real buildings we may be turning our thoughts to buying a “toy” for our children which will fire their imagination and introduce them to the basic concept of design… and what better toy for a budding architectural designer than the good old Lego Brick?

Yes, it was Lego that got me, and I suspect many others, into this game! (Perhaps I should have played with my Meccano more?)

I can remember telling my parents that one day I would build them a real bungalow while showing them one I’d built from Lego. It had slightly more external colours than perhaps most Planning Officers would like, and even back in 1972 when all I’d ever seen were wooden windows, it had plastic ones… so it would have been poorly received in a Conservation Area!

Since that day, there has perhaps been one question above all others left unanswered! How tall could a Lego Tower be before the bottom brick collapsed?

I’m pleased to say, that that question has now been answered… sadly, not by me or anyone else building a tower until it toppled, but using scientific methods instead!

Here is a link to the BBC News story of how high a Lego Tower could, in theory, go before the bottom brick gave way… You may be surprised:

Oh yes, and whilst I did not actually build my Mam & Dad a Bungalow… I did design the one they had built in County Durham in 1996!