LEGO empire grows with addition of Michigan Avenue building
Loop North News


Rocco Buttliere LEGO empire grows with addition of Michigan Avenue building

(Left) LEGO model of Crain Communications Building (left) along with Millennium Park Plaza (lower right) and 182 North Michigan Avenue (upper right). Photos obtained from Rocco Buttliere. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

27-Sep-15Rocco Buttliere’s skyscraper empire is growing. He has re-constructed the Crain Communications Building using 4,800 LEGO bricks.

The architecture student at Illinois Institute of Technology is working on a 1:650 scale LEGO model of downtown Chicago and the Crain’s building, completed on September 17, is his 27th LEGO model of a Chicago landmark.

Formerly the Smurfit-Stone Building, the 41-story office building, located northwest of Millennium Park at Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street, is arguably best known for its distinctive sloped roof. Buttliere says it was “one of my more perplexing designs to date.”

(Right) Closer view of upper floors.

Rocco Buttliere

“If I had to compare it to my body of work, I would liken it to a hybrid of my former World Trade Center and Tribune Tower models. The seemingly disparate masses of the building are essentially two separate halves that are held together with an array of Technic elements,” says Buttliere, referring to interconnecting LEGO parts used in advanced models.

The 45-degree tiles at the southeast and northwest corners of the roof, according to Buttliere, are attached to Technic lift-arms at various intervals along a central shaft.

Rocco Buttliere

(Above) Architecture student Rocco Buttliere now has most of the Millennium Park skyline depicted as LEGO bricks. Buildings along Randolph Street include (left to right) Crain Communications Building, Millennium Park Plaza, One Prudential Plaza (with Two Prudential Plaza behind it), Aon Center, and Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower.

Over the past five years, Buttliere has re-built much of the northeast corner of the Loop using more than 62,000 LEGO bricks. He estimates he will be working on the project for five more years and it will eventually comprise two to three million pieces.

• Contact Steven Dahlman at


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