henrysunset

Eurobricks Citizen
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About henrysunset

  • Birthday 08/11/1980

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    Architecture

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    http://tomalphin.com

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    Seattle, WA, USA

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  1. I had the pleasure of building an intricate LEGO Ideas model of Machu Picchu, built in the style of the official LEGO Architecture sets. The model was designed by Diego Baca, a proud Peruvian who wanted to help LEGO enthusiasts learn more about the globally recognized UNESCO World Heritage site.Not only did Diego build the model both digitally and using LEGO bricks, he also created a beautiful instruction manual in the style of official LEGO Architecture sets, and a matching glossy box. I had a lot of fun building the model using the easy-to-follow directions. The completed model is immediately recognizable, and looks great next to the official sets, especially the recent Great Wall set which also features historic architecture in a mountainous landscape.For an longer, in-depth review of the set and an interview with Diego about his project, you can read the whole article at: https://brickarchitect.com/2019/lego_ideas_machu-picchu-diego-baca/ If you want a chance to build it, be sure to vote for it on the LEGO Ideas site!Sincerely,—Tom
  2. henrysunset

    2019 LEGO Architecture

    Thanks for the kind words! It is always a pleasure to know that your work is being appreciated. :-) I'm glad to hear LEGO Architecture is being widely distributed in Germany! Here in the USA, it is pretty much only available in official LEGO stores and Barnes and Noble. They also used to sell them in Toys"R"Us, but as you probably heard they went out of business.
  3. The decision to release TLM2 Brickheadz as limited edition regional exclusive business is crazy! By my math, The LEGO Group might only make $10k, and pissed a lot of people off in the process. I shared my math, and some more wild speculation in this article: https://brickarchitect.com/2019/2019-year-of-the-exclusives/Love to hear more speculation, or see if I made any errors in my analysis and estimates.
  4. henrysunset

    2019 LEGO Architecture

    I agree with the sentiment that ESB is a bit boring, and architecturally bland... I will quote my Interview with Rok Žgalin Kobe from last year (link: https://brickarchitect.com/2018/interview-lego-architecture-rok-zgalin-kobe/), as I think it helps add clarity around which buildings The LEGO Group think make good LEGO sets... Unfortunately, I don't think we will see anything like Villa Savoye again from the LEGO Architecture series, because it has too little mainspream appeal and awareness. While this totally bums me out as I want to see the LEGO Architecture series raise awareness of Architecture as a field, commercially viable projects like ESB are likely to win out in most cases.
  5. henrysunset

    The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

    For folks who got to see the movie today and want to see a second opinion, or want to read a detailed review before seeing the film in a couple weeks, feel free to read my review of the movie.LINK: https://brickarchitect.com/2019/review-lego-movie-2-the-second-part/ (The review has very few spoilers!) Without giving anything away, I am happy to report that it's a fun movie that fans of the original film will definitely enjoy. I didn't think it was *quite* as good as the original, but it's always hard for sequels to be better than the original film. Sincerely,---tomP.S. In the review, I also talk about which sets most closely match how they appear in the film, in case you are curious!
  6. henrysunset

    2019 LEGO Architecture

    I am working on the Paris review, which I hope to share too. The Paris model is much less ambitious, and more similar to the rest of the series. It does incorporate some nice mini-builds.
  7. henrysunset

    2019 LEGO Architecture

    2019 is just around the corner, so it's probably time to create a new thread for discussing the upcoming sets. As of now, there are two sets coming out on January 1, 2019: #21043 San Francisco (skyline) #21044 Paris (skyline) It is fair to assume that there are a couple other sets being explored for 2019, since sets receive a number when they are in the production process. Since Las Vegas was delayed and re-designed, it received a new set number, 21047. That gives us hope that 21045 and 21046 are also coming out in 2019 - although we have no way of knowing what those sets might be. I'm also excited that I had a chance to build both of the new sets. The first one I built was #21043 San Francisco, which is an overall great set, despite a few sections which aren't as elegant as I would have hoped. It also marks the first set int he skyline series with significant terrain features, and the first to leverage Forced Perspective to add visual depth. I look forward to sharing my review of the Paris set soon too! #21043 San Francisco. LINK: http://brickarchitect.com/2018/review-21043-lego-san-francisco-skyline/ Question: Which of these two new sets are you most excited about?
  8. henrysunset

    Discussion: LEGO Architecture 2018

    @Lucarex I think Las Vegas is a bit more complex than that, although it is hard to argue that it is not a well-rounded place. As a place that is constantly re-inventing itself to follow the latest trends, styles, and fashion, Las Vegas has played a role in amplifying various movements in Arts and Architecture. There is an honesty in a street lined with billboards and neon - we don't care about you, we just want to sell you stuff. The Las Vegas of the early 1970's was captured in Denise Scott Brown's 'Learnings from Las Vegas', a seminal text which played a role in breaking architecture away from increasingly boring Modernist designs; creating Postmodernism. While Postmodernism is remembered for some of the most garish examples, some of the buildings are quite beautiful. It made room for experimental styles like the works of Frank Gehry or Daniel Libeskind, and also set the stage for revisiting sincere classical buildings in the 90's and 2000's (especially on university campuses.) Today, Las Vegas continues to be appalling and delightful at the same time. There are some really interesting projects which were recently finished or underway, including CRYSTALS at Citycenter (Daniel Libeskind), and a new Arena project underway. I can't imagine living in Las Vegas, but it's fun to visit for a day or two to see the architecture, take in a show, and see how the city continues to redefine itself. ---tom
  9. henrysunset

    Discussion: LEGO Architecture 2018

    Brick Architect was one of the sites lucky enough to receive and advanced copy of the new #21047 Las Vegas Skyline set. I thought my friends at eurobricks might want to be the first to learn more about the set, the number of pieces, MSRP, and my overall impressions. In brief summary, it's 501 pieces, 39.99€, and it's a pretty good addition to the series. It's not as good as the recent #21039 Shanghai Skyline set, but better than many other sets in the series. Link to full review: http://brickarchitect.com/2018/review-21047-las-vegas-skyline/ Sincerely, ---tom
  10. I forgot to ask—What was the most interesting thing you learned in these interviews? (I'm always trying to learn how to ask better questions.)
  11. I forgot to ask—What was the most interesting thing you learned in these interviews? (I'm always trying to learn how to ask better questions.)
  12. I had so much fun interviewing Jamie Berard about Creator Expert and the Modular Building Series earlier this year. It's rare to get an opportunity to get inside the minds of the creative genius designers at LEGO, so I thought you might enjoy some selected highlights from the interview. The interview was split into the following two parts:Highlights from: ɪɴᴛᴇʀᴠɪᴇᴡ: Modular Building Series with Jamie BerardIn this interview, we discussed how Downtown Diner, and Parisian Restauraunt represented two major turning points in the series... Jamie Berard: "Some people would say there are two stages of the modular, with #10243 Parisian Restaurant starting the second expression because we put more detail inside the building and focused a bit more on storytelling. As we approached the 10 year mark, we needed to be careful that we didn’t stay on auto-pilot, where it becomes too familiar and people can just predict the next one."I surprised that one of the earlier sets wasn't very well received initially:Jamie Berard: "I remember when we did the #10197 Fire Brigade. That one was not very well received in that people were horrified that it was too American; ... They said that the flag is hideous, although that I appreciate that and agree... Then they said it only has two floors, and everybody knows the modular have three floors. They had already defined in their mind what it should be."We also got a chance to talk about how Creator Expert helped bring Teal back...Jamie Berard: "We considered Medium Azure and some other blues. All of these complement the Dark Pink color we wanted to use for the convertible in this set. ... we thought this set was a nice way to bring teal back, and bring it back with a quantity of bricks.We also talked about storytelling (ex: money laundering), and highlights his two favorite sets in the series! Link to full interview.Highlights from: ɪɴᴛᴇʀᴠɪᴇᴡ: LEGO Creator Expert with Jamie BerardSince my passion is LEGO Architecture, we talked at length about the large Architecture models (like Big Ben) in the Creator Expert series. I asked how they pick which buildings to create as sets:Jamie Berard: "It is harder for us to accomplish contemporary, clean architecture in a large model, because of our target audience is adults. ... If you try to re-create any of the well-known architecture that is too minimalist ... in a LEGO version it comes across a bit naïve ... On the flip side, there’s a lot of great classic architecture that you can imagine in LEGO and know it’s gonna be great. I’d say anything “old world” looks great in LEGO because we have a lot of opportunities for details, texture, implying different stonework or materials." I was surprised to hear that they struggle to wrap there heads around what deserves the "Creator Expert" label. Jamie Berard: "But how do you perceive what makes it Expert? This is an internal question we are trying to resolve…" We also learned which building in the Creator Expert was most challenging to get right, and might have still been a bit disappointing in the end. It was fun hearing how much enthusiasm he has about his work, something you may have already noticed when watching his Designer Videos. Link to full interview.Sincerely,---tom P.S. For practical reasons, these were just a few of my favorite excerpts from the full interviews at brickarchitect.com website. I hope you enjoyed the stories behind these great LEGO sets!
  13. I had so much fun interviewing Rok Zgalin Kobe about the LEGO Architecture theme earlier this year. It's rare to get an opportunity to get inside the minds of the creative genius designers at LEGO, so I thought you might enjoy some selected highlights from my interview!Highlights from: ɪɴᴛᴇʀᴠɪᴇᴡ: Rok Žgalin Kobe on LEGO Architecture I started with the same question I asked Jamie - how do you decide what building to make into a LEGO Architecture set? Is it based on market research, your passion, or to coincide with when a new LEGO store is opening?Rok Žgalin Kobe: "It’s actually a combination of them all, and really depends on the model. One might stem from a good idea of a great model that we think is feasible, another might stem from the underlying ... We need to take into account everything from how many sets we’ll have that year, and the price points we would like to have them at, to how the overall portfolio looks like. Of course, we are glad for the ones that just work out." He brought a few prototypes of both the LEGO House set, and the Guggenheim model. It was interesting to learn how he balances literal accuracy with matching the mind of the builder when designing something like the LEGO House.I also enjoyed learning about how teams like Architecture collaborate a lot with other teams, including Creator Expert where he has helped on sets like Downtown Diner. I also enjoyed the deeper look at a few specific sets like Statue of Liberty, Great Wall, and the Guggenheim. Rok shared some of the unique challenges and pleasures in being one of the few people at LEGO with a background in Architecture. The whole interview includes more photos of the Guggenheim and LEGO House prototypes.For practical reasons, these were just a few of my favorite excerpts from the full interview at brickarchitect.com website. I hope you enjoyed the stories behind these great LEGO sets!Sincerely,---tom
  14. While I'm an undisputed "Lifetime LEGO Lover", I just visited Billund for the first time as part of the Fan Media Days event. My Impressions:Billund is a magical town where the bakery is perfect, the streets are clean and freshly paved, and everyone you meet is wearing the classic Minifigure smile. The town of Billund is quite literally LEGO land — the center of town where City Hall used to be has even been replaced by the magnificent LEGO House! Don't forget the very first LEGOLAND theme park, as well as the headquarters of the LEGO Group. The highlight for me was definitely the new LEGO House. It is architecturally interesting, and it's an amazing ambassador of the LEGO Brand. I was impressed by how effectively the building focuses on the core aspects of the LEGO brand like creativity, learning, and play — rather than showcasing the latest licensed products. Behind-the-scenes look at the beautifully decorated employee cantina. To be fair, the town feels a bit strange, since it's effectively a modern factory town that's a bit hard to escape. no wonder many LEGO employees live pretty far from Billund to get a break from the place where everything is awesome all-the-time. For a much more in-depth account of my experiences (both good and bad), I shared a longer version of this article at Brick Architect. Sincerely, ---tom P.S. While it's been exciting to share my initial impressions, I'd also love to hear your impressions of Billund, LEGOLAND, and the new LEGO House museum! What did you like best, what could be improved, or what unexpected surprises did you find in the home of the LEGO brick?
  15. I had the opportunity to review this set for Brick Architect website. I've focused on the question around whether this set is a good stepping stone for builders wanting to try the Creator Expert Modular Building Series—This is an excerpt of a longer review. Initial Impressions At first glance, this set’s high level of architectural detailing looks like it belongs in the Modular Buildings series. At 99.99$ for 1004 pieces, it is a good deal smaller and less expensive than the modular buildings. Building the model The construction process uses 8 numbered bags, so you will only have a few parts on the table at any given time. This felt like too many bags given the modest size of the model, but I suspect this was intentional to keep each bag to around 20 minutes of construction time, and to reduce frustration searching for the part you need. For younger builders, it might make sense to only assemble one bag each day. Architectural Detailing Of the two buildings, the Sanctum side of the model is the strongest by far. The three stories reflect three different styles of architectural detailing. The bottom floor has a rusticated stone façade and sloping concrete base suggesting a strong foundation. The second story has a nice contrast between the stone columns and orange stucco. the top floor has a Second Empire style roof, with rectangular windows on either side of an oversized oculus-style window. While the large round window is creative license on behalf of Marvel, the use of three distinct styles representing the bottom floor, middle floors, and very top floor is quite common in urban residential architecture in Europe and North America. Highly decorated urban residences drew inspiration from rural palaces, at the same period in history when affluent people chose to move to the cities. Modular Building Lite? If you review the current selection of LEGO sets, there is a huge gap between the relatively simple buildings featured in the “Creator” series (typically around 30$, aimed at ages 8-12), and the massive sets in the “Creator Expert” series (well over 100$ and targeting ages 16+). The basic “Creator” sets feature relatively little architectural detailing, whereas the Creator Expert sets are extremely intricately detailed. There aren’t a lot of sets in the middle, introducing more advanced building techniques at a reasonable price point, until this set. To be fair, there are a lot of awesome sets aimed at this transitional skill level and age group within the Star Wars and Super Heroes series, but they are usually ships or large playsets instead of buildings. For this reason, I think it is fair to consider this set unique in offering an architecturally focused minifigure scale model which sits somewhere between the simplicity of the “creator” series and the complexity of the “creator expert” products. To set realistic expectations, this model has a more compressed scale than those in the Modular Building series: with a base of just 16×16 studs and very small rooms and short ceilings on each floor. That said, there are numerous examples online where people have modified the official set to fit in their Modular city — it doesn’t look like major changes are required to make it look good. Conclusions: While it doesn’t quite meet the level of architectural detailing found in the Creator Expert modular building series, #76108 Sanctum Sanctorum Showdown is a fantastic introduction to the style. It comes Highly Recommended due to thoughtful architectural detailing, great minifigs, and a fair price. For the full-length review and lots of photos, visit: http://brickarchitect.com/2018/review-76108-sanctum-sanctorum-showdown/ What do you think? I'd love to hear what sets you recommend to new AFOLS or younger builders who want to work up to the Creator expert Modular Building series?