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[MOC] House of the Five Senses

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Magical. That's what the House of the Five Senses is to me.

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[MOC] House of the Five Senses by Bert Van Raemdonck, on Flickr

The House of the Five Senses is the entrance to the Efteling theme park, which I have the fondest memories of. I still try to trick my parents into taking me there. We never visited Disneyland or even Legoland (*oh2*) even though I'm a big fan. But still, that was never a problem to me because we would often visit the Efteling, which is such a magical, whimsical, fun and genuine place that it totally made up for not visiting those other theme parks. The mere sight of the Efteling's entrance therefore gives me warm feelings. That made it the perfect fit for the latest (and last) contest on Rebrick, "Architecture faves", which called on builders to recreate a place close to their hearts in Architecture style. That and the fact that it's just a super interesting structure to recreate with a fascinating story:

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[MOC] House of the Five Senses - Everything you need to know by Bert Van Raemdonck, on Flickr

Its distinct visual style and defining compound curves made it very challenging to replicate in bricks though, especially at the Architecture scale. My first instinct was to use many bows, cylinders and cones. Turns out that there is a severe lack of cone pieces in reddish brown (and it's only one single set which provides the brown carrots that work perfectly as the peaks...). I had to resort to using slopes and flat parts, and in the end I'm very glad I had to. Using bow pieces would have been a mistake as the main shape of the surface has a concave surface, while the concave bows would have destroyed the flow of that surface. Moreover, it would have been impossible to hide every single half stud lip of a brick or to align everything perfectly, so the angular bricks make those features look more intentional and part of the creation. So strangely, using slopes instead of bows actually results in a visually smoother build and also gives strong, crisp edges where they need to be.

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[MOC] House of the Five Senses - Dragon Perspective by Bert Van Raemdonck, on Flickr

The downside was that I had to create the surface out of a multitude of small pieces at just the right angle instead of using bigger pieces with inherent curvature. That meant I had to find a lot of compact ways to connect things at funny angles and do my best to fill up all gaps. New parts like all the 1x1 pieces with bars in different configurations were absolute life savers to get it to work. Without them, it also wouldn't have been possible to connect the triangular panels that were the only right part for the job in several places. The disadvantage was that all of the complex connections needed a lot of tweaking just to get the part not to collide with others. This being built with Lego Digital Designer, you can understand the struggle of taking half an hour just to line all of the parts up, just to come to the conclusion that it sticks out too much and you have to figure out a completely new solution, or that the collision box of the part is ill defined so it refuses to put the part in place even though there's no collision in real life... Sure, building digitally has a lot of advantages (and no, I didn't use part-colour combos that don't exist as far as I know), but there are some definite disadvantages like spending ages on lining up parts, wishing you could use the illegal connections everybody uses or struggling to understand compled 3D orientations on a screen... Anyway, the small rant being over :grin:, believe it or not, in the end I managed to create the building entirely with legal connections as far as LDD is concerned.

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[MOC] House of the Five Senses - Leaving perspective... by Bert Van Raemdonck, on Flickr

In the end, I'm very happy with the final appearance of the building on its own and the fact that it matches the original building quite closely (look here for some excellent reference pictures). I'm especially happy that I took the extra trouble to angle the four peaks of the main part of the building which makes it both accurate and gives it a very dynamic look for a static piece of architecture. To complement the spiky look of the building, I opted for a presentation on an unconventional base placed at a 45 degree angle which emphasized its corners. It has the extra advantage of representing the triangular square (now that's a funny turn of phrase :wacko:) in front of the real building, which features a fishbone pattern in the floor which I tried to replicate with the tiles (until I realized I totally missed the point of the pattern, but it still looked good enough :tongue:). The very new 2x2 triangular tiles in the end enabled my vision of an angled base, but sadly I had to use some loose parts to fill in some funny gaps. Still, I think it was totally worth it for the presentation. Finally, it was very fun to add all of the little elements like the trees, hedges, lightposts and flowers that breathe some life and colour into the scene like the seasoning in a dish.

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[MOC] House of the Five Senses - Group perspective by Bert Van Raemdonck, on Flickr

In the end, I'm very happy with the visual result. Also with the fact that I pushed myself to tackle such a challenging topic and persisted through the entire building process which took an entire month even though the model only counts eight to nine hundred pieces (I often went days with only placing ten bricks or something like that...), because through it I learned some new techniques and part combinations (triangular flag element + 1x1 round place with bar at the bottom = total win!) which will certainly be handy in the future. And what made it truly special was the feedback I got. I has already been very fun to see Efteling fans react to my model. And I am very grateful that the judges of the Rebrick competition liked it enough to designate me as a runner up winner... The House of the Five Senses certainly has worked his magic on me once more! If it only puts a little bit more magic on your day as well, that'd be just perfect. So I hope you enjoy it, and don't forget to keep your eyes open to see magical things!

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So, I mentioned this was built with LDD, which means that I can also easily share the file with you, just in case you're interested in the techniques or would like to try to build your own. As I said, all the parts (at least the most important ones I checked) are available in the colours I used, and everything is connected, although I don't promise it will be a creation you can swoosh around - if that is something you'd want to do with a building. However, the design presented in the renders isn't horribly practical. The base, for example, would take in more depth than needed on a shelf, limiting the display options. The angled base also requires some loose parts and the new 2x2 triangular tile in grey, which have only appeared in the roller coaster set so are on the rare side. That's why I've also designed a version with a rectangular base, which should be a lot easier to build and manage in real life. It doesn't have the tirangular square in front, but it does have more vegetation in a corner. I also got rid of the loose white jumper plates at the base of the back tower. I couldn't find a solution during the time frame of the contest, but after a lot of thinking I've now designed an alternative with car doors which are all firmly attached. Both versions of the model are included in the file below, so you can check out the one that suits you best. Have fun with it, and if somebody does succeed in building it in real life, be sure to send me a picture, and don't hesitate to ask questions because I still have some designer notes!

The LDD file: https://bricksafe.com/files/BEAVeR/digital-models/efteling_buildable.lxf

 

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Efteling! Really nice! You've mentioned it yourself, but the peaks are just fabulously angled and twisted. I'm seriously impressed how beautifully well covered up are what might be some proposterously ugly gaps. I'm also digging the level beheath the whole brown section; really adds a whole sense of queuing for a theme park (yikes! Makes me want to go to one :grin:!).

PD: Rendered in Blender?

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