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Photos: MSI's Gorgeous Ode To Legos And Architecture

By Marielle Shaw in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 11, 2016 7:11PM

Adam Reed Tucker, an architect turned "Lego-certified professional," is not playing around. He was, in fact, overdue for a nap and some well-deserved time off after putting together Brick By Brick, The Museum of Science and Industry's ambitious ode to the power of playing with Legos.

Brick by Brick celebrates the beauty of architecture and engineering with 13 major pieces, including local marvels such as MSI itself and a working version of Six Flags Great America's American Eagle coaster. This represents an incredible 316.150 Lego bricks and 2528 hours of build and design time, an amazing feat for a one-man build team that Tucker himself called "crazy." The museum also has interactive features that allow visitors to build their own structures, as well as explore how engineers build structures that can withstand earthquakes and wind.

Tucker told Chicagoist he learned more about each original structure as he reconstructed it in Lego form.

"As I design and build, I gain a greater appreciation for the structure I am working on and try to capture the essence of the building in its sculptural form," he said. "My hope is that people looking at my work will also appreciate and learn about each architectural wonder and the creativity and imagination that's possible with the Lego brick."

Tucker showed us one of us favorite pieces: an intricate greyscale Lego Hoover Dam, complete with a cutaway displaying the dam's interior tunnel structures. The 5 foot, 42,800-brick dam represents 160 hours of building time. And that's not counting the time he spent researching and understanding how the structure was built, and what it represented to people at the time—a great feat of engineering at the end of the Great Depression.

Another feature we loved, featured at the back of the exhibit, is a design challenge that MSI issued to various global architecture firms. All were sent the same sets of white Legos, and then asked to design their vision of a "building of the future." The designs range from classical to whimsical, and come from firms ranging from the Loop to Japan.

Brick By Brick will be at MSI until February of 2017. Entry requires a timed ticket for an additional fee, but is included in the museum's Explorer package.