Drop in with the kids to an exhibition of eight super intricate LEGO models of Singapore’s landmarks at the Central Library this June.
It’s the June holidays and the kids are at home, growing more and more restless by the hour. You’re not letting them play on the computer for too long, you’ve read them all the books in your bookshelves. Now, you’re hard pressed to occupy them with meaningful activities. We popped in yesterday at this fantastic little exhibition that just opened at the Central Library and we think it’s well worth bringing the tots down for a look.
Building History: Monuments in Bricks and Blocks is a brand new exhibition of eight of Singapore’s historical monuments all built using LEGO. Your kids like LEGO too? Bingo. They’d love it. The eight landmarks include the National Museum, the lovely red and white Central Fire Station, old Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, the Thian Hock Keng Temple, St Andrew’s Cathedral and Sultan Mosque. As miniatures, these are pretty big, adult-sized models done in impressive detail, using over 110,000 toy bricks (ie. LEGO which did not sponsor this) in total.
The exhibition was organised by the National Heritage Board’s Preservation of Sites and Monuments division, but the models were built by three designers from My Little Brick Shop Pte Ltd. Lots of research had gone into doing it: they studied the architectural plans of the buildings (yes, really old documents), flew drones over the them to capture the details from above, and visited many times to take photos to capture the details. And it shows up in the models which took seven months to complete– from the floor patterns of the Thian Hock Keng Temple to the coloured glass window of St Andrew’s Cathedral and the bottles that decorate the base of the domes of Sultan Mosque. The largest model is the Mosque which weighs 40 kg and could not fit through a door. Just one of the golden domes itself is made up of 1,511 pieces of toy bricks.
Getting nose-to-nose with these models lets you really see and appreciate the details of these buildings which may not be apparent even when you visit the actual site.
Making these models had its challenges and the model makers had to improvise sometimes. For instance instead of green dragons on the roof of the Thian Hock Keng Temple model, they had to use red snakes instead as LEGO did not make toy dragons. The pillars of at its main entrance are gears with chains, instead of grand dragons coiling upwards. But you get the idea. The main hall of the temple was recreated by memory work because the security lady in the hall was adamant that no photography was allowed.
This exhibition would hopefully help start a conversation among grownups and kids about the history of these landmarks and the communities that built them.
The exhibition runs from now until 30 June. Guess the number of bricks used to build the Sultan Mosque and the three closest guesses will win LEGO models. The next 10 closest guesses will win a children’s storybook on national monuments. Just upload a photo of the Sultan Mosque model with your answer on your personal Facebook or Instagram accounts with the hashtags #BuildingHistorySG and #librarysg.
The exhibition will then travel to other libraries: Marine Parade Library (1-30 July), Jurong regional Library (1-30 August), Tampines Regional Library (1-29 Sep), Ang Mo Kio Library (1-30 Oct), Sengkang Public Library (1-29 Nov) and Choa Chu Kang Library (1-30 Dec).