LEGO Architecture – First Three Sets   Leave a comment

I recently obtained a retired LEGO architecture set (John Hancock Center). I decided to take apart the Willis Tower (Sears Tower) and Empire State Building sets and create a timelapse for it.

21000 – Willis Tower (Sears Tower)

The Willis Tower,located in the heart of Chicago, is an “international style” design consisting of square tubes in a 3 by 3 tube arrangement, with each tube having a footprint of 23 meters (75 ft.) by 23 meters (75 ft.), in essence creating a unified bundle of nine tubes. The Willis Tower was the first building for which this type of “bundled- tubular” construction was used. This design provides stability against high winds and also allows for future upward growth if so desired.

The building is supported by 114 rock caissons secured into bedrock. The foundation and the floor slabs combine to equal 2 million cubic feet of concrete. 76,000 tons of prefabricated steel frame sections measuring 15×25 ft. were put in place. The Willis Tower has more than 16,000 bronze-tinted windows and 28 acres of black aluminum cladding or “skin”.

As the building climbs upward, the tubes begin to drop off giving the Willis Tower its characteristic setback or “step-back”. This geometry of the 110-story tower was developed in response to the original interior space requirements of Sears, Roebuck & Company.

21001 – John Hancock Center

The John Hancock Center is one of the most famous buildings representing the structural expressionist style; the skyscraper’s distinctive X-bracing and angular facade has made it an architectural icon not only in Chicago, but throughout the world.

The X-bracing exterior is actually a hint that the structure’s skin is part of its tubular structural system. This “diagonalized trussed-tube” is essentially the spine that helps the building stand upright during wind and earthquake events. This is one of the architectural techniques building used to climb to record heights which eliminated the need for inner support beams, greatly opening up the floor plan and increasing the usable floor area.

The overall form can be described as truncated rectangular-pyramid. Shaped like a rhombus or rhomboid, and essentially a parallelogram with unequal adjacent sides in this case composed of four trapezoidal planes.

21002 – Empire State Building

During the Great Depression, America’s labor force was at its highest supply and the value of the dollar was cut in half over night. Ironically, it was this combination of events that made a construction project of this proportion possible.

Built on the previous site of the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the construction took seven million man-hours and had a feverish pace of 41⁄2 floors per week.
Ironworkers erected 60 thousand tons of riveted steel frames into a series of stacked boxes. They became known as “Sky-walkers” due to the dizzying heights they worked at – heights never previously attempted.

On May 1st, 1931, the building opened after only 410 days of construction and it remained the tallest building in the world until 1972 when the World Trade Center opened. The building has been named one of the 7 wonders of the modern world.

I’m done.


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