Atmos Studio's "Meltingwater"
Many an architect has been fashioned as such since infancy, molded by design-conscientious parents who mistake their child's first scribbles for a perceptive creativity to be encouraged with sets of crayons, smart clothes, and, above all, geometric toys. Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier both had their Froebel blocks, and, since the 70s, when they made the material change from wood to plastic, Legos have been the young architect's favorite mode of play. Let's not lie, we still play around with them. Last month, ICON Eye asked several architecture firms, including Foster + Partners and Adjaye Associates, to reinterpret Lego incarnations of canonical architectural works.
The participants were each given a standard set of Lego's Architecture Series--an expanding line including scaled, pixellated versions of Fallingwater, the Farnsworth House, and the Empire State Building--and asked to tap their creative wells in a rapid-fire modeling session. The results are about as quirky as you'd guessed, an amorphous array of melting models, staggering structures, and broken cantilevers.
Unsurprisingly, the architects were most willing to play around with Fallingwater, fulfilling Freudian dreams of patricide. Atmos Studio chose Fallingwater and baked it, dissolving Wright's dramatic cantilevers (called "Meltingwater") into an warped cluster of structure and landscape. Adjaye Associates went the Venturi route, reducing the White House to its iconic neo-Greco facade and moving activity to a bunker-like chamber below ground. Foster mashed up components of Fallingwater and the Empire State Building, resulting in a vertical cityscape of shifting floorplates, Constructivist gestures, and dramatic circulation systems. Of all the entries, FAT put forward the most radical offering, breaking apart the Fallingwater model and arranging its pieces into a derivative of Wright's Broadacre City, with each block filled by a different building typology ranging from megastructures to rowhomes.
Foster + Partners