Mix 70,000 LEGO bricks with 50 Bronxville families, and a quiet Sunday afternoon becomes an engaging lesson in local architecture. In an event on January 21 sponsored by The Bronxville Historical Conservancy (“BHC”), the groups used LEGO bricks to construct replicas of Bronxville buildings.
Parents and children worked together at tables in the main gym of The Bronxville School, scurrying between their models and giant tubs of LEGO bricks. Even though white and gray bricks were in high demand, the atmosphere remained one of civilized competition. At the end of two hours, the finished structures were carefully moved by nervous hands and placed on a giant map of Bronxville spread out on the gym floor.
“I am constantly amazed at the quality of the LEGO models that normal moms, pops, and kids can create in a hectic, fast-paced two-hour time limit,” said Stephen Schwartz, an architect who founded the New Jersey-based Building Blocks Workshops. Schwartz has held similar events in Westport, CT, Montclair, NJ, and Hershey, PA.
Bronxville builders picked what they wanted to create from photos of 57 private homes and public structures. Many of the buildings were historic, and some were no longer standing. Selections included Old Village Hall, The Reformed Church, “Crownlands,” Concordia College, 26 Prescott Avenue, and 11 Sturgis Road, “the Chateau.”
“I chose mine because it looked cool,” said 10-year old Charlotte Black, who opted for Crownlands, the Bronxville childhood home of President John F. Kennedy.
“What a unique, challenging and enjoyable experience for children and parents,” said Jennifer Jaquette, who, along with son Sean Jaquette, recreated Old Village Hall.
After the finished LEGO models were sufficiently admired and photographed, they were disassembled and the bricks returned to bins. But participants did not leave empty-handed. They received a “guide,” which included a map of Bronxville and the history of the 57 selected structures. Everyone was encouraged to take a walking tour of Bronxville and visit the real buildings in their natural habitat. The BHC LEGO Committee was led by Jim Hudson. Ellen de Saint Phalle, Marilynn Hill, and Nancy Vittorini compiled and penned the walking tour “guide.”