Architecture no longer a priority for the LEGO Group

When the Architecture theme launched, they were the perfect sets for adults who didn’t do LEGO. But now it seems to be a gift shop novelty.

Architects attract cliches. They wear roll-neck sweaters and round, wire-frame glasses. They drive a Saab. And almost every one will have a LEGO Architecture set on their desk. The earliest sets could have been made for them. Minimalist, monochrome designs that looked perfect on a Scandinavian designer table. 

Soon the theme evolved, highlighting the very best that 20th century architecture had to offer.  Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and Guggenheim Museum sat alongside the Farnsworth House by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. And next to that, possibly the epitome of ‘futuristic’ house design, the Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier. Intertwined were iconic landmarks like the Brandenburg Gate, The White House and the Sydney Opera House.

These were all sets aimed squarely at adults, and often adults that would have little or no interest in a traditional LEGO set. These were designs that could sit on a desk in an office and attract admiring glances, where a CITY Police Station would only get raised – and puzzled – eyebrows.

Then along came 21028 New York City. Rather than an individual building, it was a Skyline, incorporating a number of famous buildings, each created out of a handful of bricks, each one a suggestion of the building rather than an accurate representation. At less than £50 it was an ideal souvenir of a holiday to the Big Apple, and it was soon followed by others.  Berlin. Venice. London.

And since then, those detailed models of architectural icons seem to have been sidelined. These days, gift-shop friendly, unit-shifting designs are the order of the day. As far as ‘proper’ Architecture sets are concerned (no offence, Skyline team), we’ve only had three sets in the past three years, with 21058 The Great Pyramid of Giza following 21056 Taj Mahal (itself arguably a  remake of the two Creator Expert versions) and 21054 The White House from 2020.

Why we see so few models from this theme is something of a mystery. The LEGO Group has been actively courting adults over the past few years with the 18+ branding and the ‘Adults Welcome’ tagline. So for a line that is aimed squarely at that segment of the market to receive so little support is puzzling. Chances are the answers lie buried in a sales report somewhere.

We can but hope that the line gets a little more attention paid to it, and that the designers seek out genuine examples of cutting edge architecture rather than tourist attractions. There are countless options, such as the Millau Viaduct in France, the Cube House in Rotterdam or the Isokon building in London. All would make for builds that were both interesting and aesthetically pleasing.

We’ll just have to see what the LEGO Architecture team comes up with next. But judging by the recent past, we’re likely to have to wait until next year to see what it is.

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8 thoughts on “Architecture no longer a priority for the LEGO Group

  • 01/09/2022 at 14:16
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    Would still love to see a large set for Notre Dame. Perhaps some of the profits goes towards rebuilding efforts.

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    • 02/09/2022 at 13:32
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      it seems the only priority for the LEGO is max profits

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  • 31/08/2022 at 18:12
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    Building buildings isn’t all that fun. There’s a lot of repetition, and no moving parts to play with, so it’s only going to appeal to fans of a particular structure to have as a display piece. I’m sure some people like them, but probably most people gravitate to other themes.

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  • 31/08/2022 at 16:54
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    Am waiting for the a better version of the Great Wall or the forbidden city or any architecture from Japan. Hong Kong skyline would also be cool

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  • 31/08/2022 at 16:13
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    I want to see more epic huge sets like the colloseum. How about the acropolis,hagia Sophia, sagria familia

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    • 31/08/2022 at 19:51
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      The primary reason LEGO is no longer doing a great job with the Architecture line is because they lost the “inventor” of the series, Adam Reed Tucker.

      The line was doing awesome (for the LEGO Group) and they didn’t want to continue working with him.

      It’s unfortunate, too.

      In case you didn’t know, they are not an easy company to work with (or for).

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      • 06/09/2022 at 04:31
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        Trust me, there are very good reasons people don’t work with Adam Reed Tucker anymore. I’ve worked with him multiple times and in the years I’ve known him he has shown himself to be one of the most egotistical and difficult to work with people I’ve ever met.

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  • 31/08/2022 at 15:40
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    My guess is it’s like everything else with the way Lego (and many other brands) seem to be going; licensed fantasy characters + nostalgia market the best above all other ideas and concepts. Why have variety in your brand when you can just slap a Star Wars or Marvel character on your stuff and you know you’ll sell it?

    Sad face.

    Reply

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