As they say, a journey begins with a single step – and that step leads to a sure and steady stride that embarks you on an adventure of a lifetime. This is probably how Adam Reed Tucker will describe his journey towards his love for the LEGO brick and the eventual influence that it has towards his life’s enduring legacy.
Like other Lego Certified Professionals, Adam may have not initially thought of bearing the title, much more working with LEGO on his architectural projects. Unlike most AFOL or Adult Fans Of LEGO, Adam discovered his passion for the brick later than he expected – while he was already working as an architect in Kansas and Chicago. Prior to this, he studied architecture and design at Kansas State University, earning his degree in 1996. Though he remembers vividly receiving one of his first LEGO sets gifted to him by his aunt when he was 6 years old while visiting the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the hobby didn’t catch up to him until he was a professional already.
When the tragic events of 9/11 unfolded back in 2001, Adam thought of honoring the majestic twin towers of the World Trade Center by finding a way to express the complexity of the mammoth skyscrapers in a way that is most familiar and welcomed by anyone, even by children. What better way to do that than through the use of the LEGO brick. Then in 2002, he’s ideas were eventually confirmed when he stumbled upon a book by Henry Wiencek entitled “The World of LEGO Toys” published in 1987. Adam immediately noticed one particular adaptation where LEGO bricks were used as an architectural medium. In one of his interviews, Adam says. “As an artist’s medium, the [LEGO] brick is not initially thought of as a material typically used in creating art. But as an architectural artist, it lends itself perfectly to my applications just as paint to a painter or metal to a blacksmith. My medium of choice is plastic bricks that happen to be called LEGO.”
When Adam decided to come up with his own company called Brick Structures, from then on, he knows that there is no turning back from this new found passion. “Making the decision to leave a job that I really did enjoy was a matter of refining what it was I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Working with my hands, creating art and sculpture, the freedom to create and explore my own vision of design without computer reliance, and to share architecture with the world all made this a natural move for me,” Adam says as he shares his thoughts in an interview at the National Building Museum. Adam believes that his designs are reflective of his interests in the arts, so much so that his creations are ‘scratch-built’ which means he does not use computer modelling, pencil and paper, or written directions in his work. Adam builds and re-builds certain parts of his buildings five or six times until he feels they are right.
A self-confessed AFOL in 2006, he went on to be one of the founders of Chicago’s first LEGO fan convention called BrickWorld. It didn’t take long before LEGO noticed his work, and in 2007 Adam’s Brick Structures partnered with the LEGO Group to develop a new line of LEGO sets aptly named LEGO Architecture.
On being awarded the status of a LEGO Certified Professional, Adam says in an interview with the Henry Ford Museum, “Really, all you have to have is an existing brick-based business. You have to use the LEGO brick in a way that is unique and innovative.” As an afterthought, he adds, “I’m consumed with exploring and pushing the envelope of where the LEGO® brick can go,” says Tucker, speaking by telephone from his home in suburban Chicago. “I’m enamored by all of the usefulness that LEGO harnesses within itself — education, philosophy, team-building, therapy, art, science.”
His recent venture on promoting the usefulness of the LEGO brick in inspiring others to appreciate architecture is now showcased at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago in an exhibit aptly titled, ‘Brick by Brick’. Watch this video as Adam explains his LEGO Golden Gate Bridge in an interview with Beyond the Brick correspondent Joshua Hanlon. The Golden Gate Bridge is just one of the 13 recreations of architectural landmarks that Adam came up with for the exhibit.
Here are some of Adam’s spectacular LEGO-built marvels of architecture and engineering for the Museum of Science and Industry’s Brick by Brick exhibit which will run until February next year.
As the creator of the LEGO Architecture series, and through his contribution for such grand masterpieces as exhibited at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, Adam realizes that his enduring legacy is to inspire the next generation of designers who will wow the world with future architectural wonders; and to help them bridge the gap using the versatility of the LEGO brick. LEGO’s newest book in this genre – LEGO Architecture: The Visual Guide – may likewise capture the essence of what Adam wants to teach to the world’s future architectural designers.
Adam says with conviction, “My hope is that people looking at my work will also appreciate and learn about each architectural wonder and the creativity and imagination that’s possible with the LEGO brick.”