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BBC2: Lego - The Building Block of Architecture

leego76leego76 Chandlers FordMember Posts: 345
BBC2 @ 10pm tonight, blurb as follows..

The Lego Movie (released 14 February) is the latest big-budget incarnation of one of the world's most popular toys. Yet Lego is more than a global brand. Tom Dyckhoff explores its fascinating relationship with architecture, and argues that it has changed the way we think about buildings.

Lego's plastic yellow bricks were launched in the 50s, and resonated with new visions of rebuilding society - with ethical, imaginative children's play at its heart.

Tom meets the artists and architects reared on Lego, who are using it to reimagine our cities today, from Bjarke Ingels, 39, the leading architect of his generation, to international artist Olafur Eliasson whose Collectivity project took three tonnes of Lego to the citizens of Tirana, Albania.

But with Hollywood franchises and huge expansion, has Lego lost its original ethos of creativity and construction? Tom looks to Lego's successors and at how cult computer game Minecraft may be set to transform the cities of the future.


  • LosimagicLosimagic UKMember Posts: 397
    Thanks for the heads up, I had no idea this was on!
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,532
    edited February 2014
    Yes. Excellent reminder that... I've even mentioned it somewhere myself, and I still forgot it was on! :oS
  • leego76leego76 Chandlers FordMember Posts: 345
    And I see it's also on the main page, which I don't check as regularly!
  • khmellymelkhmellymel United KingdomMember Posts: 1,195
    Man, I hope I'm home from uni in time :(
  • Gooker1Gooker1 Member Posts: 496
    How do I watch this if i live in the states?? :(
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,532
    For people who missed it but with access to BBCiplayer (which is just the UK i think), it is available for next 7 days:
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,331
    oh my god, 15 seconds in and I ~think~ they've used the word LEGOS on a british TV programme. I feel I should write to points of view, although suspect or even hope it doesn't exist any more.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,331
    Pah, not the same without Terry
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,532
    edited February 2014
    I noticed that guy say 'legos' at the beginning, and did an immediate mental double-take... Thankfully, it doesn't occur again, but it exposed the show's veneer for the bandwagon-jumping it was. (No problem with it per se, just not in a show where researchers are meant to check facts).

    The other questionable 'fact' was the presenter talking about his lifelong love of lego... only to then stare in total amazement at how they are packaged, look on in horror at the parts inventory in one instruction booklet, and generally stare blankly as he flicked through it.

    Not so much a man in his element (pun intended), more like a man who just discovered a foreign substance on his sandwich... he could barely contain his embarrassment at handling them.

    You could see him screaming in his head "I'm a man, I'm a MAN. This is a TOYYYY! I have a degree! What is this cr*p I'm saying?!"

    But was entertaining enough. :o)
  • XefanXefan Member Posts: 1,149
    I've got to admit I felt the Lego-Architecture link was probably a little tenuous. I'm sure the whole architecture bit was thrown in just to get it past the execs at the BBC who seem to feel if it's not related to buildings, cooking, or history then it's not getting a green light. It seemed to be claiming links between Lego and architecture where there were none.

    It seemed to be more like a brief history of construction toys and games, interspersed randomly with a brief history of architecture.

    I'm not even entirely sure why they dragged Peter Molyneux in either, a games designer who has nothing to do with Lego, and nothing to do with the only video game featured in the show. I guess he was the only person who was free.

    But on the upside, it was nice to have at least some kind of TV show about Lego. So I guess we should be grateful for the rather nonsensical poorly flowing half hour that we actually got.
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,532
    ^ Yep, that's exactly what i thought. I enjoyed it, for the novelty of hearing the genuine enthusiasts taking lego seriously as a tool. That was pretty cool.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,090
    edited February 2014
    The focus of the programme moved from LEGO as an inspiration for todays architects, to Minecraft for tomorrows, by way of a snipe about how LEGO has become too specialised and commercial. Molyneux was there to talk about Minecraft, as a member of the videogame illuminati.

    Interesting programme, if a little brief, with architecture at its core, or did you guys miss all the architects they interviewed, and all the buildings they focused on....?

  • CaptAPJTCaptAPJT Member Posts: 213
    Was too much architecture, not enough Lego. Surprised they didn't show the Lego mine craft stuff as a perfect tie in between the two aswell.

    For American/overseas users I recommend a google chrome add on called Hola! It's a site unblocker which allows you to bypass site restrictions like those you experience on the BBC iPlayer.
  • LostInTranslationLostInTranslation UKMember Posts: 5,298
    ^^ I agree, interesting but too short to go into enough detail.

    A couple of thoughts:
    - why, when Tom showed a pic of Fallingwater, wasn't the Lego rendition of it mentioned? He had a copy there, you could see it later on! No mention was made of the Architecture range at all.
    - on the subject of Minecraft, wouldn't it have been nice to round things off by saying how Lego now makes sets based on the computer program? They could also have mentioned LDD as a design tool.
    - would've liked to hear more from Bjaerke on how he used Lego to aid his creative process.
    - I liked seeing Jabba in the middle of the town layout :-)
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,170
    I very much enjoyed the show, although noticed that the story of how LEGO was created was streamlined hugely. They omitted the involvement of Ole's son, who has always seemed to me to be the real hero. He suggested that they purchase the plastic moulding machine, and it was he who saw how the business could be grown.

    Still, very interesting stuff, although I would agree with others who have suggested that the link with architecture was tenuous. Just an excuse really to produce a show about LEGO as far as I could see, not that I had any problem with that!
  • Brewer51Brewer51 Member Posts: 248
    I agree regarding the Fallingwater point. I thought the whole point of showing it was so they could then show off the Lego set!

    I did find it odd that one chap used his interview time to sound off about the fact that Lego are now all about pre-designed sets with linear instructions, but is that really a bad thing?
  • caperberrycaperberry LondonMember Posts: 2,226
    Nice as the Ole stuff was, I'd have preferred they focused more on Lego architecture, talked about System in Play and Modulex and hell, how about a mention of the Architecture line?? As LiT says, the full circle of Lloyd-Wright being chosen for official sets would have been a nice touch... Moshie Safdie would have been even more relevant.

    And given they moaned about intricate pieces and the narrow creativity of licensed sets, it would have been interesting to have balanced that with 21050 Architecture Studio. Maybe they couldn't find one to film ;0)

    Rant over. I think I'd set my expectations of the Culture Show too high. Their Doctor Who 50th thing was brilliant.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,331
    I wonder if they had to tread a careful line not to be out and out advertising products. Showing a bunch of architecture sets might have added little extra, even falling water might not to be honest but would have been seen as advertising.

    It also wouldn't have helped with their narrative that Lego and other toys was what drove children to architecture but now in the digital age it's minecraft. And it's provably true, for £20 you get minecraft, limitless possibilities, infinite bricks in all colours, build entire world's that take up no space and require no tidying up. The difference is like night and day especially combined with the ever more specific parts in lego sets.

    Font get me wrong Lego is s great toy but I'm not sure it's the incredible driver of creativity it used to be, other than perhaps with technic.
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,928
    What I got from the documentary was basically:
    "Lego was great and inspired creativity in children and many architectural movements, etc, but is now getting too complicated and scripted and Minecraft is replacing it as Lego for the technology generation."

    It seemed to be almost as much focussed on Minecraft as Lego (towards the end, at least).
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