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LEGOmania at the Albany Institute

albany institute lego challenge composite 2011

Legos + creativity at the Albany Institute

This weekend, fortified by turkey and stuffing, teams from all over the Capital Region competed in the Albany Institute of History and Art's first LEGO Building Challenge. Teams of LEGO-maniacs faced off on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Their mission: create Albany architecture from either the past, present or future.

We got to judge the contest on Sunday afternoon along with David Brickman, Jim Kambrich and Rebecca Angel Maxwell. We saw everything from an awesome model of the 1864 Saratoga Race Course, to a Village People concert at The Egg, to a futuristic hydroelectric power plant...

We have to start with this -- The Saratoga Race Course. It took the prize for complexity.

Lego Saratoga Race Course -- in progress.jpg
In progress

Lego Saratoga Racecourse done.jpg

Lego Saratoga Racecourse head on.jpg

Saratoga Racecourse with Legos.jpg

And it came complete with, well, you know...

Lego Saratoga Racecourse cu.jpg

Lego racecourse horse:carrot .jpg

A model of The Palace Theater by the Clough brothers took the Most Dramatic category:

Lego Palace theater.jpg

Lego Palace theater inside.jpg

Lego Palace with creators.jpg

Cameron from Schuylerville thought up this hydroelectric power plant with solar panels and a working motor. He built it with help from his sister Alayna. They won the prize for engineering.

Lego hydro power station.jpg

Lego Hydroelectric plant 2.jpg

Lego plant with creators.jpg

Lego hydroplant motor cu.jpg

It's fun to play at the E-G-G:

Lego concert at The Egg.jpg

Lego Village People.jpg

The LEGO amphitheater:

Lego Ampitheater 1.jpg

Lego Ampitheater 2.jpg

Two girls visiting from Manhattan built themselves a farm complete with a little red barn:

Lego little red barn.jpg

Lego Little Red Barn with creators.jpg

Lego little red barn cu.jpg

There were Lego row houses:

Lego Row houses.jpg

And a LEGO Fort Orange, complete with Henry Hudson's Halfmoon:

Lego Ft. Orange w:halfmoon.jpg

This LEGO Empire State Plaza wasn't part of the competition. It was donated to the event by Jason Bryer, a local LEGO enthusiast, so competitors could get a look at what's possible.

Lego Empire Plaza.jpg

Lego Empire Plaza 2.jpg

And speaking of what's possible, engineer and LEGO enthusiast Bill Leue was at the event.

Leue has been working on reconstructing the former Trinity Church in Albany from LEGO. He built the facade and front columns earlier this year, based on Chuck Miller's set of photos of the Trinity Church demolition and he finished it up recently. "It took hundreds of hours of planning and preparation, building and rebuilding. I'd build something and say 'nahhhh,' take it all down and build something else." Leue estimates he used at least 20,000 LEGO blocks -- none of them cut or painted.

For this event, Leue did something we can't imagine many people doing. He pulled his masterpiece apart and started the project over again in a two-and-a-half day marathon build at the Albany Institute. "We deliberately took it right down to the foundation to build it here." He'd almost completed it by the end of the event on Sunday.

Leue couldn't quite finish the whole church in the two-and-a-half days allotted, but he came pretty close. "I can't finish the roof because we're missing one half of the arch in the colonnade." Though he's not quite done with Trinity, he's already thinking about his next build. "I'd like to do Bannerman's Castle."

For now he's planning to take the Trinity Church project home and work on some of the details that are hard to get right in a speed build. He doesn't have any immediate plans to display the project, but he'd like to find a way to show it once it's finished. Until then, here are a few more photos:

There are large-format photos at the top, if you want a closer look -- scroll all the way.

Comments

Totally recognize the guy with the #9 shirt in the rowhouse model. See him everywhere. Good work.

The projects are all incredible. Great work by all.

The #9 T-shirt guy is a LEGO minifig taken from their soccer stadium model. He does seem to get around.

But no one gets around more than those stormtroopers!

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