About Brick Built

 

Warren Elsmore is often asked why he has such a passion for LEGO bricks. His answer is usually that given enough time and imagination, you really can build just about anything!

Brick Built is a collection of models built by Warren Elsmore and his team – covering almost everything under, over and around the sun. Some models were originally built to feature in one of Warren’s many books, some models were commissioned by our customers and some we built, well, just because!

We’ve stretched the possibilities of LEGO bricks with huge models containing hundreds of thousands of bricks. We’ve let our imagination run free with tiny models that capture a design in only a few small elements. We’ve even taken some recognisable shapes and converted them straight into a blocky LEGO form.

Brick Built changes as we create new models but there is one thing that remains constant. Just like you, we’re passionate about making things from simple, small, plastic bricks; whatever we choose to build!

 

Lyme Park

Originally the family home of the Legh family, Lyme Park is the largest in Cheshire, and remained in their possession until 1946. The family were granted the land in 1398 by King Richard II; there have been at least three houses on the land.

The first house dating to the fifteenth century was demolished in the mid-sixteenth century, to make way for a new building. This second house was extensively renovated by the Venetian architect Giacomo Leoni in the 1720s, who added a southern range – this creating the central courtyard. Although he kept many of the original Elizabethan features, the finished building was heavily influenced by both Baroque and Palladian architecture. Further additions were made in the nineteenth century. The house and its’ grounds were given to the National Trust in 1946.

The house has been the setting for many television and film productions, most notably the 1995 BBC adaption of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, where the exterior was used for Mr Darcy’s Pemberley.

 

 

 

Houses of Parliament

Originally a Royal Palace, and the official residence of the King of England, in 1512 it became the site of the English Parliament and Royal Courts of Justice. In 1605 the Palace became the focal point for discontent, the Gunpowder Plot was an attempt by Roman Catholics to reinstate Catholicism in England by assassinating King James I. Gunpowder was placed beneath the House of Lords, with the aim of detonating it during the Opening of Parliament on November 5, 1605. The plot was discovered, and the conspirators caught and tried for treason. 

The current building mainly dates to the mid-nineteenth century, as a fire in 1834 had destroyed much of the earlier structures. The Palace was badly damaged during World War II, being struck by bombs on fourteen occasions. The British Government continues to use the Palace for the Parliament of the United Kingdom, with both the House of Commons and House of Lords meeting there.

One of the most recognisable buildings of the palace complex is the clock tower. Officially named the Elizabeth Tower, this houses the Great Clock of Westminster. The name Big Ben came from one of the bells within the tower, which over time came to refer to the tower as a whole. The clock itself is particularly impressive, it is accurate to within a second - an achievement which was believed to be impossible in the nineteenth century when it was installed in 1859. Ever since then it has remained remarkably reliable.

 

 

 

Oil Anchor Handling Tug Supply Vessel

This type of ship is designed to handle anchors for oil rigs, and tow them into position; without these vessels it would impossible to move the rigs into the correct positions. These are immensely powerful vessels, with many of them suitable for working in the frozen Arctic waters.

Although this vessel is not based on a specific ship, it is based on the AHTS fleet of the Danish company Viking Supply Ships AS. Like the real-life versions of this ship, the ship’s name is based on gods from the Norse pantheon, in this case the god Tyr. It is highly detailed, and the winches even work! 

 

Airport

Few inventions have been credited with making the world a smaller place. Modern aviation is one of those inventions. In less than 100 years, a global infrastructure of airplanes and airports have brought us all closer together. At any one time, tens of thousands of planes are in the air transporting both goods and people to every country in the world.  Large airports cover thousands of acres, so our LEGO model is based on a small city airport. Even at LEGO minifig scale, an accurate model of a global 'hub' airport would be pretty large!

 

 

Forth Road Bridge

When the Forth Road Bridge turned 50 in 2014, this minifig scale replica of one of the two bridge towers was recreated in LEGO. To make sure it was as accurate as possible, the original drawings and plans for the tower were used to ensure everything was up to scratch!

Due to the size of this model, it isn’t all LEGO either – over 200kg of steel was used to create an internal structure. This proved tricky for two reasons – firstly, all the steel had to be cover; and secondly, in order to move the model, it had to be disassembled for transport!

 

 

Brick Wonders (first case)

Brick Wonders transports you around the world to wonders old and new; from the art and inventions of the ancient world to the marvels of the natural world, as well as those modern wonders we tend to forget to wonder at.  Covering the whole globe and beyond, each wonder is built using only standard LEGO bricks, and good amount of imagination.

These models present some of the highlights from the original Brick Wonders collection.

(Shelf 1)

TV Camera

This is the traditional camera for live news broadcasts, it has got a lot smaller over the years! 

Wind Turbine

Wind farms have become increasingly popular sources of electricity in recent years.

Battery

The technology underpinning almost all modern gadgets is the humble battery. Or perhaps not so humble!

Lightbulb

The light bulb was invented in the early 1800's but popularised by Thomas Edison in 1879.

Tablet Computer

It's estimated that 1/2 of Britons own a tablet computer so this LEGO tablet should hopefully look fairly familiar!

 

 

(Shelf 2)

Arabic Design / Mosaic

Intricate mosaic designs are common in the Middle East, this one uses ‘cheese wedges’ to create the pattern.

Mini Colossus

Our little colossus might not be as huge as the real statue, but at least he's easier to build!

Archimedes’ Lever

Archimedes wrote about the lever: "Give me a place to stand, and I shall move the Earth with it" 

Grecian Urn

Visit any museum of ancient Greece and you'll see these – they were used to store food and drink. 

Shaduf

The Shaduf is perhaps one of the most ancient methods of retrieving water and it's still in use today!

 

(Shelf 3)

Tug Train

These 'Mules' are purpose-built tug trains that manage ships in the Panama Canal.

 Container

Shipping containers have revolutionised goods transport and trade throughout the world. It's estimated that there are over 17 million containers in circulation today.

Soyuz

The Soyuz Capsule is one of the oldest designs of spacecraft dating to the 1960s, and is still in use today.

  

(Shelf 4)

Condor

The Condor is one of the largest flying birds in the world - with a wingspan that can grow to over 10ft (3m)!

Llama

Native to South America, the Llama is a domesticated animal that is commonplace throughout much of South America.

Train

If you are lucky enough to visit Macchu Picchu, then it's likely that you'll take the train at least part of the way.

Caravanserai

Traders working the routes would have stopped their camel trains regularly at Caravanserais – these provided safe accommodation overnight. 

Camel

The camel is often called the 'ship of the desert'. Moving across ever shifting sands, they transport countless goods and people over the middle east every day.

 

 

 

Brick Wonders (Second case)

 

1. Steam Train

The first full scale locomotive was built by Richard Trevithick in 1804 and steam trains remained in common use for 150 years.

2. Ford Model T

It's often said that Henry Ford deemed his cars could be "any colour as long as its' black" - but actually the original model T was available in many different colours.

3. Helicopter

A helicopter tour is a very popular way of seeing the Grand Canyon - especially from Las Vegas as it's actually quite a distance!

4. Raft

A popular activity within the Grand Canyon is to go white water rafting along the Colorado river.

5. Mini Matterhorn

This LEGO model proves that you sometimes you don't need any special pieces or complex building techniques to recreate something in LEGO bricks. \

6. Swiss Knife

What could be more Swiss than a penknife?

7. Swiss Flag

Building a flag from LEGO bricks isn't too complex - especially with a nice simple design such as the Swiss flag! This flag however, flaps in the wind!

8. Maid of the Mist

The Maid of the mist has been taking tourists to see the falls up close for over 70 years.

9. Barrel

Did you know that in the last 100 years at least 23 people have gone over the falls? Although Annie Edson Taylor used a barrel to go over the falls in 1901!

10.              Angel of the North

Standing at 20m tall, this Antony Gormley has been welcoming motorists to the North East of England since 1998.

 

 

Balloon Festival

Unmanned hot air balloons have been recorded throughout history from the third century AD. However, it was not until the late eighteenth century and the balloons created by the Montgolfier Brothers, that passengers began to be carried. Modern balloons date to the 1950s and while they are mainly used for recreational purposes, there have been a number of incredible world records set – including a complete nonstop trip around the globe in 1999.

There are many festivals all over the world which see hot air balloon operators to gather together, along with the public. Many of these festivals offer rides and special events, but can include balloon races!

 

 

 

Brick City – New York

Where it all started! Our very first book, ‘Brick City,’ was released back in 2013. The models from that book have been on tour in exhibitions all over the UK ever since. But cities change, and we felt that the tour should reflect that! Part of our ongoing development of the collection is the introduction of new models from some of our favourite international cities!

From the city that never sleeps, it was hard trying to decide what to include - everything from the main sights to the tastiest things to eat!

 

 

 

 

Brick City New York (first case)

 

9/11 Memorial Pools

The National September 11 Memorial is located at the site of the World Trade Centre in New York. The memorial was designed by architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker. At its’ heart are two immense reflecting pools with waterfalls – marking the spots where the Twin Towers stood.

The pools create two voids in the site, which emphasises the loss – these are clear and visible reminders of what is no longer there. Bronze inscriptions around the pools record the names of all of those who lost their lives on September 11, as well as those who died in the bombing at the World Trade Centre in 1993. The waterfalls muffle the sounds of the urban surroundings, although it still remains part of the city. It is a space for meditation and reflection. The space is not bare, trees – a traditional symbol of life and rebirth – are planted in groves surrounding the pools.

Ice Rink, Central Park

The Wollman Rink in Central Park first opened in 1949, and is normally open for skating between October and April. During the summer it is transformed into an amusement park.

Statue of Liberty Torch

A symbol of enlightenment, the torch of the Statue of Liberty is instantly recognisable. The current torch is actually a replacement though, it was swapped for the original in 1984. You can still see the first torch in the lobby of the statue.

I Heart NY Sign

This iconic slogan was first introduced in 1977 to help promote tourism to the state of New York.

Viewing Telescope, Empire State Building

The observation deck on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building affords one of the best views of New York City – a 360-degree view of all of the major monuments of the city – except, of course, the Empire State Building!

 

 

 

Brick City New York (second case) 

Hotel Frontage

If you’ve watched any films based in New York, you’ll recognise this type of scene – these classic buildings with their canopied entrances and doormen are very traditional.

Staten Island Ferry

Linking the New York boroughs of Manhattan and Staten Island, the ferries making this 25-minute trip carry around 70,000 people per day (22 million passengers every year)! Even more impressively, since 1997 the ferry has been free!

Roosevelt Island Tramway

This aerial tramway connects Roosevelt Island to Manhattan, this was the first commuter aerial tramway in North America when it opened in 1976. Since the service started over 26 million passengers have used it!

Subway Train

One of the oldest public transit services in the world when it started in 1904. It carries around 5.7 million passengers on weekdays – despite that incredible number, it is only the seventh busiest subway service in the world!

New York Yellow Taxi Cab

An icon of New York city, the yellow taxi cab is instantly recognisable. The origin of the colour is uncertain – for one taxi cab company, it may have been the owner’s wife’s favourite colour. Others say that this shade of yellow is easy to spot from a distance. 

Pizza Slice

You may think of pizza as a fairly international dish – but New York has its own style of pizzas. These large thin-based pies are frequently sold in wide slices to go, you fold them in half to eat!

Bagel with Pastrami

Beef pastrami is a New York adaptation of Romanian Jewish pastrami, which traditional used goose meat – beef was cheaper! The first pastrami sandwich is credited to Sussamn Volk in 1887; his sandwiches proved so popular he converted his butcher’s shop into a restaurant.

Big Apple

No one really knows where the nickname ‘Big Apple’ for New York originated, the earliest reference in writing appears in 1909. It became popular in the 1920s, but it wasn’t until the 1970s when tourist organisations used it as a marketing gimmick.

 

 

Brick City - London

Where it all started! Our very first book, ‘Brick City,’ was re- leased back in 2013. The models from that book have been on tour in exhibitions all over the UK ever since. But cities change, and we felt that the tour should reflect that! Part of our ongoing development of the collection is the introduction of new models from some of our favourite international cities!

From London we selected some of our favourite places, as well as some of the best known sights, plus some of those lesser known secrets that make the city so amazing.

 

 

 

 

Brick City London (first case) 

Camden Lock

In the 1870s, Camden Lock was built to connect the area with main trade routes in London. With the decline in trade, the area deteriorated, but in the 1970s the area was transformed into a vibrant space, notable for its’ world-famous market.

Borough Market

One of the largest and oldest food markets in London, there has been a market on this site since at least the 12th century. The current buildings date to the 1850s and the market now offers a wide range of speciality foods.

Underground Train

The very first underground train was built in London in 1863! Starting with one line, the system now has eleven different lines and carries around 4.8 million passengers every day!

City of London Dragon

These cast iron statues mark the boundaries of the City of London; these are all based on two dragon sculptures that used to stand at the Coal Exchange on Lower Thames Street from 1849 onwards. In 1963 these were moved, and more dragons were added around the city.

Zebra Crossing

The Zebra Crossing was introduced to the United Kingdom in 1949 but with blue and yellow stripes! These were changed later to the more recognisable black and white stripes we still see today.

 

 

 

Brick City London (Second case)

 

No.10 Downing Street

Although it is known as No 10, it is actually formed of three buildings and has been the headquarters of the Government of the United Kingdom since 1720.

Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square

Originally meant to have a statue of William IV, it remained bare for 150 years. Since 1999, there have been a series of temporary sculptures and artworks installed on the plinth, we think a giant brick would be a perfect addition! 

Fortnum & Mason Afternoon Tea

A British tradition since the 1840s, it was intended to be a ‘mini-meal’ to prevent hunger before the evening meal at 8pm. Traditionally it was composed of sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and pastries and cakes. Scones are more recent addition, only joining the menu in the twentieth century!

Raven

It is said, “If the Tower of London Ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it.” Although this is now dismissed as a bit of Victorian fantasy, Ravens are now kept in captivity at the tower to make sure this doesn’t prove true! 

Sovereign’s Orb

A representation of Royal power, it was originally created for the coronation of Charles II in 1661 and it has been used at every coronation since then. It has over 600 precious stones and pearls!

Grenadier Guard

Originally formed in 1656, the tall black bearskins of the Grenadier Guards make them one of the most iconic regiments of the British Army. They are traditionally used to guard the Royal Palaces in London.

 

 

 

 

Brick City – Paris

Where it all started! Our very first book, ‘Brick City,’ was re- leased back in 2013. The models from that book have been on tour in exhibitions all over the UK ever since. But cities change, and we felt that the tour should reflect that! Part of our ongoing development of the collection is the introduction of new models from some of our favourite international cities!

The wealth of history in Paris means that we had so much to choose from when selecting the new models, plus we had to include some of the romance of the city!

 

 

Brick City Paris (first case)

Père Lachaise Cemetery

Established in 1804, Père Lachaise cemetery is the largest cemetery actually within the city of Paris. The cemetery wasn’t popular so in 1817 the administrators reburied the supposed remains of Abelard and Héloïse at the site, after which the popularity of the cemetery greatly increased. There are estimated to be more than 1 million people buried at the site.

Bells of Notre Dame

There are ten bells at the Cathedral, all of which have names. The largest – known as Emmanuel – weighs over 13 tons! Emmanuel always rings first, and has been doing so since 1681.

Padlock, Pont des Arts

Since 2008, lovers have been adding padlocks engraved with their names to the railing of the bridge before throwing the keys into the Seine as a romantic gesture. However, due to the sheer numbers (and weight) of the locks, these have been removed as it was causing major damage to the bridge

Gargoyle

These carved stone monsters were actually designed for wet weather! They are used to channel water off roofs during rainstorms. Not all gargoyles are monsters though, some represent monks, or real animals or people – often in a humorous way. 

Street Artists of Montmartre

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Montmartre became a focal point for artists, who were attracted by the cheap rents and bohemian atmosphere. Since then, artists have continued to flock to the area, and you can now find many selling their artworks on the streets around Montmartre.

Skull

Paris is known for her catacombs, which are estimated to hold the remains of more than six million people. It is even possible to go and visit these – the catacombs have been open to the public on numerous occasions since as early as 1787!

Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Paris is one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in the world. It took nearly two centuries to build, with the first stones laid in 1163 and the final sections completed by 1345. The cathedral was the scene for the famous novel by Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

 

 

Brick City Paris (Second case)

 

Pont Neuf

The ‘New Bridge’ is actually the oldest standing bridge across the Seine, with construction dating to 1578. It was subjected to heavy traffic since it was first built, as it was one of widest bridges in the city.

Paris Fashion Week, Catwalk Show

Since 1945, Paris Fashion Week has been held twice a year to show off the latest Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter trends. One of the ‘Big 4’ fashion weeks – alongside London, Milan and New York – it is one of the most important events on a fashion designer's calendar.

Croissant

This stereotypically French pastry is not actually French! Croissants are likely to have originated in Austria, where they were known as Kipferi. The French name croissant – comes from its crescent shape. 

Guillotine

From the bloodiest period in French history, the guillotine was used to terrifying effect during the French Revolution in the late eighteenth century. It is estimated that many thousands were executed using the device, including the deposed King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette

Chandelier

In the eighteenth century, increasingly elaborate chandeliers were produced in Europe, with the use of crystals to help improve and enhance the light in dazzling displays like this. Chandeliers like this were used in palaces and theatres.

Espresso Cup

It is said that coffee is at the heart of the Parisian lifestyle. Espresso is the preferred drink of choice. Sitting on a café stool with a newspaper or just watching the world go by is a wonderful start to the day!

Cluny Tapestry

This unicorn comes from the famous set of set tapestries known as The Lady and the Unicorn, which are now on display in the Musée national du Moyen Âge (formerly Musée de Cluny). The tapestries represent the five senses – taste, hearing, sight, smell and touch; with the sixth depicting love or understanding.