Snaking 169.2 m (555 ft) into the sky, the Anaconda Smelter Stack is built from 2,446,392 real bricks. That makes it the world’s tallest brick structure. Just imagine how many Lego bricks it would take to make a full-size copy.
Meanwhile, Disney’s Cinderella Castle doesn’t contain a single brick. Despite its bricky appearance, the Magic Kingdom attraction is made of concrete and fiberglass. However, to rebuild it full-size from Lego, you would need 2,118,137,751 (2 billion) plastic bricks. That’s one thousand times as many as the real bricks used in the Anaconda Stack. And your Lego bill would be $182 million.
Let’s do it. Let’s rebuild the Disney Castle, Taj Mahal, and Old Trafford with Lego bricks. After all, we did it with your favourite Netflix Originals scenes. Yeah, here goes: ten landmarks, all far prettier than the Anaconda Stack, built hundreds of feet high in Lego* in their original settings.
(*Okay, so we cheated and asked TheToyZone’s designers to create the Lego buildings as digital renders using Bricklink’s software, but our brick count is deadly accurate.)
Taj Mahal, India
The Mughal emperor Shah Jahan commissioned the Taj Mahal as a tomb for his “favorite wife,” Mumtaz Mahal, in the 17th century. Construction workers and artisans came from across the empire to build the white marble mausoleum at the heart of a 17-hectare garden. The four freestanding minarets were a new feature in Mughal architecture and enhanced an already astonishing sense of scale.
The discontinued Lego Taj Mahal rose just 16” (43cm) high and could be built in seven modular sections to make it easier to clear off the kitchen table at teatime. But our 1:1 Lego rebuild is 240 ft (73 m) high and, like the real Taj Mahal, will last (on the internet) for hundreds of years.
|Cost of building the Taj Mahal in real life (adjusted for inflation)||$1 billion (source)|
|Cost of building the Taj Mahal in Lego (estimated)||$2.1 billion|
You will need:
🧱 176 types of brick
🤯 35,007,786,500 bricks in total
💰 Cost of bricks: $2,186,819,336 / €1,629,103,866
Statue of Liberty, USA
French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi began work on this gift to the United States with his team in France in 1876. They later took it apart and shipped it in pieces to Bedloe’s Island, the “gateway to America,” in the same manner that so many Lego constructions have been gotten out of the way since 1949.
The 2018 Lego Liberty was not the first Liberty set, but it was the brand’s largest architectural model at the time. “This has certainly kept me entertained whilst in lockdown,” enthuses one buyer of the 1,685-piece set. Perhaps if we’d known how long the pandemic would last, we would’ve started on a full-scale Lego Liberty for realz.
|Cost of building the Statue of Liberty in real life (adjusted for inflation)||$6.2 million (source)|
|Cost of building the Statue of Liberty in Lego (estimated)||$1.1 billion|
You will need:
🧱 168 types of brick
🤯 16,351,963,706 bricks in total
💰 Cost of bricks: $1,164,434,496 / €867,462,944
Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, UK
“The world’s most famous clock” towers over the UK’s parliament buildings in Westminster. But you’d be hard-pressed to get a good view of it right now while a massive restoration project envelopes it. Nestled in a tower built with 850 cubic meters of stone and 2,600 cubic meters of brick, the clock itself is made of opal glass and iron, with copper minute hands and hour hands made from 300kg of gunmetal
Our full-scale model, on the other hand, is made of 200 billion branded toy bricks. And, while the retired Lego Big Ben set was 23 inches (60cm) high, somebody will need to climb 315 feet (96 meters) to adjust the “4 detailed clock dials with movable hour and minutes hands” of our in-situ replica. Ding dong!
|Cost of building the Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament IRL (adjusted for inflation)||$275.4 million (source)|
|Cost of building the Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in Lego (estimated)||$12.4 billion|
You will need:
🧱 256 types of brick
🤯 206,636,181,818 bricks in total
💰 Cost of bricks: $12,408,594,545 / €9,243,968,635
The Burj Khalifa, UAE
“Inspired by the geometries of a regional desert flower,” the world’s tallest building is a concrete and glass sculpture with the flavour of classical Islamic architecture. The mixed-use development sucked up 330,000 m3 (431,600 cu yd) of concrete and 39,000 tonnes (43,000 ST; 38,000 LT) of steel rebar – the rebar used in the tower alone would extend a quarter of the way around the world if laid end to end.
It took 22 million worker-hours to build the real thing – and they didn’t even lay any bricks. Our full-scale Lego Burj Khalifa, on the other hand, features two trillion, five hundred twenty-eight billion, five hundred forty-four million, one hundred fifty-nine thousand, five hundred and forty-four bricks. It is the biggest model in our project, and we don’t have time to work out how many Dad hours you’d need to build it.
|Cost of building Burj Khalifa in real life (adjusted for inflation)||$2.1 billion (source)|
|Cost of building Burj Khalifa in Lego (estimated)||$759.2 billion|
You will need:
🧱 64 types of brick
🤯 2,528,544,159,544 bricks in total
💰 Cost of bricks: $759,246,638,177 / €565,612,171,809
Eiffel Tower, France
The Eiffel Tower was the tallest built structure for over four decades after its 1889 completion. Although named after Gustave Eiffel – who designed the metal framework of the Statue of Liberty – the tower was designed by Stephen Sauvestre and engineered by Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier for Eiffel’s company. (Much like when Junior takes the credit after Mum took over early in the process.)
Teams of four workers beat each of the original tower’s 2,500,000 rivets into their latticed iron girders. This is why it will probably stand up longer than our 276 billion-piece replica. Still, as romantic gestures go, building a $69 billion Eiffel Tower for the geek in their life will probably win your kid hand-holding privileges on the walk home from school.
|Cost of building the Eiffel Tower in real life (adjusted for inflation)||$45 million (source)|
|Cost of building the Eiffel Tower in Lego (estimated)||$68.9 billion|
You will need:
🧱 56 types of brick
🤯 276,715,798,464 bricks in total
💰 Cost of bricks: $68,954,818,440 / €51,368,926,319
The White House, USA
Thank goodness for James Hoban. The White House architect reduced Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s original plans for the ‘President’s Palace’ by 75%, bringing the project in at $232,372. It still took enslaved and free construction workers (including axemen, stone cutters, carpenters, brick makers, and sawyers) eight years to complete.
Like our most distinguished world leaders, the 1:298 scale Lego White House is “as robust as it is beautiful.” The model is rated 18+ for difficulty and marketed to stressed professionals who want to lose their mind in tactile brick-play when they get home from the office (or wander off from the home office). But what if you were to make it big enough to contain your office, and also your family, dog, and staff?
|Cost of building the White House in real life (adjusted for inflation)||$5 million (source)|
|Cost of building the White House in Lego (estimated)||$3.3 billion|
You will need:
🧱 205 types of brick
🤯 41,112,374,275 bricks in total
💰 Cost of bricks: $3,326,415,232 / €2,478,062,923
The Colosseum, Italy
Large! The Colosseum in Rome was the largest amphitheatre built in ancient times and remains the largest standing amphitheatre today. At its completion in 80 AD, the Colosseum was the most complex human-made structure ever created. Today, that achievement has been eclipsed by the Surrealist imaginings of sugar-powered three-year-olds making the transition from Duplo to Lego. Still, the Colosseum ate up 100,000 cubic meters of travertine stone and the same again in cement, bricks, and tuff blocks – unwieldy materials for even the most dexterous toddler.
The smaller, official Lego set is another 18+ puzzler. With 9,036 pieces, the Colosseum was the largest ever Lego build on its release. But it’s still tiny compared to our full-scale Lego Colosseum, which eats up 154 billion bricks. And that’s just to recreate the ruins!
|Cost of building the Colosseum in real life (adjusted for inflation)||No data available|
|Cost of building the Colosseum in Lego (estimated)||$7.6 billion|
You will need:
🧱 240 types of brick
🤯 154,377,762,712 bricks in total
💰 Cost of bricks: $7,687,964,746 / €5,722,113,720
Brandenburg Gate, Germany
You know how your kid sister just couldn’t bear to see you gazing smugly at your finished Lego masterpiece? She had to remove a bit when you weren’t looking. That’s just what Napoleon did to this early Greek revival building after his army took Berlin, pinching its Quadriga statue and keeping it in his bedroom Paris until his abdication.
The horse-themed quadriga was wrecked during World War II, and its remains now lay in a museum. So if you want a horsey on top of your replica, you’ll need to assemble it from disused rocking horses. Other than that, assembling the full-scale Brandenburg Gate is a breeze since it only uses nine billion bricks – the second smallest number in our project.
|Cost of building the Brandenburg Gate in real life (adjusted for inflation)||No data available|
|Cost of building the Brandenburg Gate in Lego (Estimated)||$896 million|
You will need:
🧱 44 types of brick
🤯 9,302,667,653 bricks in total
💰 Cost of bricks: $896,695,155 / €667,405,720
Old Trafford, UK
The Theatre of Dreams is looking a little worse for wear. The Manchester United stadium has undergone considerable development since it took so much bomb damage in WWII that United had to play at nearby Man City’s ground for a bit. United fully covered the stands in the 1950s, converted the stadium to an all-seater in the 1990s, and added extra seats and features through the latest glory years. However, faded glories and power struggles over the past 15 years have taken their toll.
Thankfully, ‘Kasper Schmeichel’s dad’ is on hand with a 1:600-scale prototype of our full-scale Old Trafford Lego replica, complete with statues and players’ tunnel. The official Lego build is “a stunning showpiece at home or the office,” as long as you don’t mind alienating the Liverpool fans among your colleagues. But to find space and social acceptability for the 1:1 Old Trafford build, you might need to get planning permission in China (where, after all, plenty of United fans reside).
|Cost of building the Old Trafford stadium in real life (adjusted for inflation)||$14.5 million (source)|
|Cost of building the Old Trafford stadium in Lego (estimated)||$24.4 billion|
You will need:
🧱 365 types of brick
🤯 317,957,620,206 bricks in total
💰 Cost of bricks: $24,470,011,926 / €18,212,907,526
Disney Castle, USA
Imagineer Herb Ryman conceived Cinderella’s Castle as a romantic French palace-fortress, “typifying the Romanesque architecture and castles of the 11th through 13th centuries,” according to Disney’s Steven Miller. The steel frame is covered in cement, plaster, and fibreglass – but for the park’s 25th anniversary, it got a temporary, cake-themed façade using “55,040 tablespoons” of pink paint and featuring 50 gumballs, 30 lollipops, 4 Life Savers, 12 gumdrops, 16 red candy hearts, and 16 green candy stars.
The interiors of Lego’s Cinderella-inspired Disney Castle are more exciting than the real thing, with rooms containing “endless play possibilities” based on classic animations. This means that our full-scale rebuild of the Lego set offers a unique architectural space that you can’t even access at Disney World, where the interiors are all restaurants and shops. It also means you’ll encounter a life-size Lego Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald and Daisy Duck, and Tinkerbell – who may have you scarpering to the castle’s secret compartment in terror.
|Cost of building the Disney Castle in real life (adjusted for inflation)||$32 million (source)|
|Cost of building the Disney Castle in Lego (estimated)||$181 million|
You will need:
🧱 619 types of brick
🤯 2,118,137,751 bricks in total
💰 Cost of bricks: $181,697,802 / € 181,697,802
Our full-scale Disney Castle uses the fewest total bricks, but the most types of brick, out of all ten of our reconstructions.
Bricks are back. From the Lego resurgence of the lockdown era to the real world masonry craze, builders big and small are doing it brick by brick. Which Lego landmark stands out on your living room floor?
Wondering How We Made These LEGO Landmarks?
Our first step was to create the scene using Studio 2.0 software, which includes a complete library of all Lego pieces, colors, shapes, patterns, and other details. We made a few changes to the official Lego instructions for the landmark sets, to make sure the scaled-up landmarks looked as close to the real things as possible.
Once we’ve built the initial 3D structure, a specialised program was used to recreate the exact coordinates that were used in photos of the real landmarks photos. This meant when we put the 3D model in our photo backdrop, it has the same position, height, depth as the original landmark.
When the model is in the right position, in our modelling software we set up the camera, lighting and base texture so they looked as similar as possible to the real structure. An artificial 3D sun was used to replicate the lights of a real photo, so that the shadows are in the right position.
Before we rendered the finished images, we wrapped the models in a texture that simulates smaller blocks, adding color to large chunks of bricks to give them that Lego look.
Fair Use Statement
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