Although the outcome was ultimately victorious, 2012 proved to be a real nail-biter for Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts and preservationists alike when an overlooked Wright masterpiece, the David and Gladys Wright Home, was held hostage by a demolition-minded Phoenix developer.
It’s pretty sweet than that “architectural artist” Adam Reed Tucker and the folks over at LEGO Architecture have selected yet another iconic Wright building to “celebrate the past, present, and future of architecture through the LEGO brick.”
Joining the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Chicago's Robie House, and, of course, Fallingwater, the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo (1923) is the fourth Wright design to achieve micro-scale LEGO-dom. The Sydney Opera House, Burj Khalifa, Corbusier’s Villa Savoye, and Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House are the non-Wright designs that round out the LEGO “Architect Series” while more instantly recognizable structures such as Big Ben, the Space Needle, and the White House make up the “Landmark Series.”
Interesting enough, the Imperial Hotel will be the first set in the entire LEGO Architecture sub-brand that is no longer with us.
Having survived both 1923’s Great Kantō Earthquake and the American bombing of Tokyo during World War II, Wright’s dramatic Mayan Revival-style structure proved to be no match for the wrecking ball when it was decided, not without protest, to raze the ailing H-shaped building in 1968 and replace it with a more space-efficient modern hotel tower. Portions of the hotel including the main entrance were, however, relocated and rebuilt at an open-air architectural theme park north of Nagoya. Still, it’s a rather provocative choice considering all of the recent demolition drama surrounding another Wright building. I should also note that the first LEGO hotel (or LEGO-themed, anyways) in North America is due to open in just a couple of months at LEGOLAND in Carlsbad, Calif.
The Imperial Hotel LEGO Architecture set consists of 1,888 teeny-tiny plastic bricks and will retail, when released later this year, for $90 to $100. It’s geared for builders ages 12 and up. Noting that the “massing remains true to Wright’s scheme” and that the “color scheme is also fairly consistent with the building,” Architizer dubs the kit as an “admirable abbreviation of the original design, with more finessed details inevitably rendered clunky and a bit awkward.”
It’s a shame it’s not out now because I can’t imagine a better way to pass the time on oppressively chilly winter days when it’s brutal to venture outside (it just got real bad here in Brooklyn). But, hey, you could start in with other LEGO-fied Wright buildings and by the time that spring rolls around, you’ll be ready to conquer the construction of the Imperial Hotel.
And, no, the Fangpyre Wrecking Ball is not included.