Lego master builder Warren Elsmore's Edinburgh brick challenge

IT took millions of pounds and decades of work to complete the landmark National Museum of Scotland in the heart of the Old Town.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 29th January 2016, 10:40 am
Updated Friday, 29th January 2016, 10:42 am
Warren Elsmore with his Lego Edinburgh tenement. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
Warren Elsmore with his Lego Edinburgh tenement. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

But an artist and his team will attempt the same feat in just three months – and at a fraction of the cost – using only Lego.

The replica of the building in Chambers Street will appear in the Grand Gallery alongside more than 40 pre-built models, including an example of Edinburgh’s most distinctive building type – the tenement – based on a Broughton Street home.

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Warren Elsmore with his Forth Road Bridge. Picture: Julie Bull

And visitors will be able to watch the toy brick museum, including Benson and Forsyth’s striking 1998 extension, take shape before their eyes. Measuring 11ft long and 4ft tall, it will be the largest project ever attempted by renowned brick artist Warren Elsmore and his team as part of an exhibition opening on Saturday.

Warren, who has previously created a 9ft Lego Forth Road Bridge, said: “I hope that people have fun. After all, Lego is a toy for kids and also for kids at heart.

“I want them to enjoy looking at the models or building something themselves. Hopefully, they will get a bit of inspiration and build something at home.

“There aren’t any rules with Lego, and the only limit is your imagination.”

Warren Elsmore with his Forth Road Bridge. Picture: Julie Bull

The team will attempt to build the scale model in situ using 30,000 Lego bricks that they have brought with them and only if the project overruns will they look at bringing in pre-built sections. It will feature an intricate cross-section of the building to showcase the Grand Gallery.

Alongside models of city buildings and attractions, the exhibition will also include a miniature Angel of the North, the Empire State Building, the balcony at the 2011 royal wedding at Buckingham Palace, the Arc de Triomphe and the Colosseum.

During the half-term break – from February 15 until February 27 – visitors will be able to assist with the building of a giant 5ft tall version of The Berserker, and a model of the Lewis Chessmen, one of the museum’s most well-known displays.

Other elements include a Brick Bingo Challenge, where families search for museum-inspired models hidden in the Natural World galleries.

There will also be a “play and display” area where visitors can try their hand at making their own masterpieces.

Stephen Allen, head of learning and programmes, said: “For children and adults alike, Lego is more than just a toy – it makes architects, designers, sculptors and storytellers of us all.

“From watching an artist in Lego bricks at work to helping us build a giant Lego Lewis Chessman, we’re greatly looking forward to showing our visitors the huge potential and versatility of these famous coloured bricks.”

Build It! Adventures with Lego Bricks is part of the Festival of Architecture 2016, celebrating Scotland’s built environment, a featute of the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design celebrations.