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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Inspiration: Spencer Rezkalla and his Lego Skyscrapers

In the Lego community, AFOLs (Adult Fans of Lego) sometimes refer to themselves as Brick-Artists. One of my favorite brick artists and the source of much of my inspiration is a man named Spencer Rezkalla; you may have seen me refer to him in some of my previous posts. Spencer takes real life skyscrapers and re-imagines them in Lego form with both correct scale and colorization. His claim to fame is that he doesn't go for super accurate designs, he more or less focuses on a "mind's eye" approach so that when you see the model it is instantly recognizable and looks very much like the real thing. The irony of this approach is the model usually ends up looking super accurate anyway. His designs are always very clean and often don't even look like they are constructed out of Lego. You can check out many of his designs on his MOCPage.

Last week Spencer started what I hope will be an ongoing tradition: Skyscraper week. He unveiled one creation per night for five nights in a row, culminating in the awesome One World Trade Center from the new WTC site in New York. After a very long time without any updates this was an awesome way to showcase some of his newest creations. I swear every time he creates something new, I want to build it myself. I am normally not a copycat, but his models look so good I don't believe they can be improved upon.

Spencer first came to my attention back in 2001 when he built his original World Trade Center site after September 11th. I have always had a peripheral interest in skyscrapers and the WTC was one of my favorites. After it was destroyed, I wanted something to commemorate it and I thought Spencer's Lego model fit the bill quite nicely. However at that time I was still in college without a whole lot of money and even though I have a lot of Lego's from my childhood it was still going to cost me over $1000 because of all the specialized parts needed. And I had just planned on building the two main towers! So needless to say I put the project on hold. As time passed by the project came back to me every now and then, but lots of other stuff kept getting in the way like moving, jobs, marriages. You know, adult stuff. So finally in 2009 when things had settled down and I was finally in a position to order all the parts I needed, I began work. It took over two months but I was able to finish the model exactly how I wanted it: complete with all seven buildings and surrounding streetscapes.
But then I got the building bug. All of a sudden I decided that my WTC looked lonely and needed a few more companions to accompany it. So I took on the challenge of Spencer's Sears Tower (I refuse to call it the Willis Tower) which was a piece of cake compared to the WTC complex and only took maybe a week. But I still wasn't done; I decided to try the Aon Building in Chicago next. I really loved the design and how it mimicked the WTC without copying the technique. In fact, it uses a fairly ingenious technique involving hinge bricks and rail plates. So basically the point of all this is: I am addicted to Spencer's designs and I love his interpretations. He just takes everything to the next level. I know of no other AFOL that can design and create like he can. There are quite a few fans (myself included) who copy his designs for their own but none of it would be possible without the vision that he provides when he first creates something.

So thank you Spencer, for having the ingenuity to create these wonderful designs for all of us to enjoy (and sometimes copy).

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