LEGO empire visits downtown
Loop North News

Photo by Steven Dahlman

(Above) With the 1:1 scale version in the background, a 1:650 scale LEGO model of Marina City, along with AMA Plaza and Trump International Hotel & Tower. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

LEGO empire visits downtown

5-Feb-16 – Surrounded by its real-life inspiration, Rocco Buttliere’s 1:650 scale model of buildings along the Chicago River amazed and amused visitors to AMA Plaza this week.

The Illinois Institute of Technology architecture student has been working on the display for six years, starting with LEGO models of individual buildings and now focused on depicting a contiguous urban landscape. 62,000 LEGO pieces form Chicago landmarks from Marina City to the west to Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower to the east. Eventually, says Rocco, the display will include all of downtown Chicago.

Photo by Steven Dahlman

(Above) More of Marina City at lower left, along with AMA Plaza, Trump Tower, and 35 West Wacker Drive. In back, Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower. (Below) A closer view of Trump Tower, Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, and 35 West Wacker Drive.

Photo by Steven Dahlman

In December, he and 43 of his models flew to London for the biggest LEGO exhibition in the United Kingdom. According to Buttliere, he was invited to Brick 2015 by a representative of the London event who attended Brickworld Chicago last June. It cost $5,500 to ship the LEGO skyscrapers to London and back, most of which Rocco raised on Kickstarter.

Photo by Steven Dahlman The LEGO display is on the west side of the AMA Plaza lobby until Saturday.

(Left) Buttliere and his LEGO models.

 Previous story: Downtown Chicago LEGO model to meet the Brits

By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News |


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