LEGO says bigger modular buildings are ‘not gone or forgotten’

LEGO modular buildings have shifted towards multiple businesses on a single baseplate over the past few years, but the LEGO Group says bigger single buildings aren’t ‘gone or forgotten’.

With the imminent arrival of 10312 Jazz Club – landing January 1, 2023 for VIP members – the Modular Buildings Collection is expanding with another set that encompasses multiple different venues. This time it’s a jazz club (obvs) and a pizzeria, with a tailor tucked away on the upper floors for good measure.

This approach isn’t what you’d call new for the LEGO Icons subtheme: the last building to devote the entirety of its footprint to a single business was 2018’s 10260 Downtown Diner (though the argument could also be made for 2019’s 10264 Corner Garage, given the vet’s office on the first floor only requires a staircase on the ground floor).

LEGO Icons 10312 Jazz Club 10255 Assembly Square 10278 Police Station 10270 Bookshop 10297 Boutique Hotel

Since then, we’ve had a pair of 16×32 buildings across separate baseplates in 10270 Bookshop, a police station, doughnut shop and newspaper stand crammed together in 10278 Police Station, and a hotel with adjoining art gallery in 10297 Boutique Hotel. Each of these sets also follows an approach originally established by 10243 Parisian Restaurant all the way back in 2013, which was the first modular building to pare back its size in favour of detail (both inside and out).

With all that in mind, should we expect the Modular Buildings Collection to permanently split its sets into multiple businesses, venues and/or residential properties across a single (or multiple) baseplates? Will the design approach of 10185 Green Grocer and 10211 Grand Emporium be forever consigned to the history books? Don’t bet your house on it.

LEGO Icons 10312 Jazz Club builds the case for dropping yellow minifigures
Did LEGO 10312 Jazz Club bite off more than it can chew?

“[Incorporating multiple businesses] helps create that feeling of building a city street within a smaller space,” LEGO designer Anderson Grubb told Brickset. “We know people still like bigger buildings that occupy the entire width. They’ve not gone or been forgotten. But we really have to find the right reason for them; we have to make sure we use the real estate as effectively as possible.

“If we tried to make [10312 Jazz Club] one huge building, I don’t know if it would necessarily have been a jazz club. It probably would have become something more than that.”

One note: Grubb makes specific reference there to buildings that occupy the entire width of the baseplate. Discounting corner buildings, there have actually only been three sets to date that have completely filled the width of their baseplates across multiple floors: 10185 Green Grocer, 10197 Fire Brigade and 10224 Town Hall. Given the last one of those arrived in 2012, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which the LEGO Group returns to that style of going big with a single building.

If anything, we’re probably looking at something closer to 10243 Parisian Restaurant or 10260 Downtown Diner. Both come close to filling the width of their baseplate, but feature cutaways around one side of their buildings, for a terrace or alleyway.

With one eye on the architectural approach to modular buildings for the past decade – detail above scale – and Grubb’s stated aim of ‘building a city street within a smaller space’, any potential set devoted to a single commercial or residential property probably won’t look much like 10224 Town Hall or 10185 Green Grocer. But you never know…

10312 Jazz Club launches January 1, 2023 for VIP members, and will be available from January 4 for everyone else, for £199.99 / $229.99 / €229.99.

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Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

One thought on “LEGO says bigger modular buildings are ‘not gone or forgotten’

  • 24/12/2022 at 19:10

    I think a jazz club on 24-26 studs width, and a newspaper stand on the remaining 6-8 studs would have been ideal … enough space for a bar etc, and no loss for the newspaper stand.
    (or think brick bank with a big one purpose building but a washing saloon integrated in a niche.

    with a pizzeria that needs some room for its own, the club is just too narrow to be a cool place.

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