Fan Post – 7 Ways Architects Can Make the Most out of LEGO

LEGO has come a long way from humble beginnings, from a 1930’s carpenter’s workshop in Denmark to getting three theatrical films (The LEGO Movie, the LEGO Batman Movie, and the LEGO Ninjago Movie).

Will it stop here? NO!

Back in 2008, the company introduced ‘LEGO Architecture’ with an attempt to appeal to larger demographics, especially adults. So how can some of the most creative engineers and especially architects use these toys to be more creative and advance their careers? Let’s find out!

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#1: Flexibility

LEGO IS way more flexible than you think. At least in the context of what all you can build with them. Just two standard blocks can be put together in 19 different ways; add one more and you have 300+ options to choose from. And with four of these, you’ll have roughly 7000 different combinations. If this doesn’t give someone a reason to be creative and flexible, then what could? Architects could use this to materialize their visions without having to draw them and starting from paper. If you somehow mess up the design, just move around a few blocks until it becomes correct. The aforementioned points are crucial for a professional whose whole career depends on being as creative as possible, and as quickly as possible.

#2: Easily Solve Problems

LEGO not only fosters creativity but also exposes one to critical thinking, problem-solving, engineering, mechanics etc. Remember as a kid how many times you had to take apart your LEGO creations until you got what you envisioned? You were actually thinking critically and creatively solving a problem. And how much time did it take? Not so much! Architects could do the same if they use LEGO in their work, only on a different level of scale and complexity. The advantage is that you are actually mixing up fun and work, which makes it far more interesting and you can easily solve any problem that comes your way.

#3: Design the Past

LEGO’s ‘Architectural LEGO’ allows users to build historic structures such as the Eiffel Tower and the White House. Almost all of these are extremely complicated and its intricacies may be difficult to digest. Making these structures in LEGO will give the architects a much better understanding as this hands-on experience could prove to be more effective than any virtual model. They could even choose to apply what they have learned in their own creations, which their clients would definitely love. This could even result in a crossover between the Taj Mahal and the White House! Staying on top of the game by any means necessary is of utmost importance for creative minds such as architects and this is one way to do it.

#4: Learn as you Play

Studies show that you are more likely to remember something better when you have fun while you doing. For an architect, young or old, what could be more fun than playing around with LEGO making buildings? Having fun makes you think outside the box and in a completely different point of view, which architects can take back and apply to their work. Even better, having fun as a team means that you not only get new ideas but from others as well. Your LEGO building won’t collapse as catastrophically as a real one. All you have to do is start over in a better way. This creates the opportunity to learn from your mistakes before you move on to the real thing. What’s the harm in having a little fun if it will later help you at work?

#5: Give Awesome Presentations

For an architect, presenting and explaining a drawing to a client can be a bit of a hassle. This is where LEGO could come to the rescue. Wouldn’t it be better to just make a LEGO structure of the design (the exterior at least) that you have in mind? It could be more realistic than what a drawing could give you. To add a little more flavor, you can put in a few figurines to represent the client’s family. For an architect, this could decide whether or not they receive business. Besides, having a great design isn’t just going to cut it. It all comes down to Presentation, Presentation, and Presentation!

#6: Save Money

How much do you think even the most basic drafting software cost? They are not cheap, provided you’re not into using the horrible pirated versions. A pack of LEGO is much easier on your funds than software tools; and if you run out of bricks while you’re making something it is fairly easy to rush to the nearest store for more. Architects can use this to their advantage and save a fortune. Unlike tools whose costs are variable, investing in LEGO is like a good fixed cost with better return on investment (ROI), and minor depreciation costs. If the architects are really efficient, the cost savings can be passed on to customers which will contribute to Customer Lifetime Value.

#7: Easy Availability

LEGO is not hard to find. It is available at your nearest supermarket, toy store, and online shop, and are cheap in comparison to the software. This means that you can put to rest any worries of projects being placed on hold due to forgotten software subscription renewals. Using LEGO ensures timely delivery of projects and overall efficiency.

Conclusion

We can agree that LEGO will have a future role to play in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, rather than just being just a cool toy for kids. If used to its full potential in the most creative ways LEGO could give much better results than the traditional models and presentations currently used by architects.

About the Author

Manjusha M Nair is a member of the Digital Marketing Team at Advenser Engineering Services. A company specialized in offering BIM Services to Architectural, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology (IT). Music, books and documentaries are some of the things that she spends her free time on.

 

LEGO Shanghai Skyline set revealed!

LEGO Architecture 21039, Shanghai, has been revealed in a WeChat post!

21039-shanghai-1At 597 pieces, this is the largest set of the LEGO Architecture “skyline” subtheme yet and looks to be consistently-scaled with both 2017’s Chicago and 2016’s New York City.

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One of the most interesting techniques in this model appears to utilize 3×3 quarter-circle technic liftarm elements to achieve the curvature of Shanghai Tower.

12 Sites to Share Your Next LEGO Creation

Looking for a place to share your next LEGO creation? Then look no further! Check out the 12 websites (and apps) briefly reviewed and find great places to post your next model. Each site is rated in three categories:

  • Ease of Use – Ability to use website (e.g. interface, search)
  • Popularity – Popularity of site within LEGO community
  • Interaction – Comments, likes and shares of creation

General Sites

Flickr

Flickr is one of the world’s largest image hosting sites, and is also one of the best sites for sharing LEGO creations. The easy-to-use interface allows for easy tagging and grouping of photos. Groups are a great feature of Flickr, as it allows users to easily search for different genres and themes of LEGO (e.g. castle, city, microscale). While Flickr is free, a low cost paid membership increases the number of uploads and provides some pretty nice statistics.

Ease of Use 5/5 | Popularity 5/5 | Interaction 5/5

Instagram

Instagram, though technically an app, is an easy way to receive a huge amount of support any a short amount of time. The easy to use application allows you to instantly take photos, upload and share in a matter of seconds. By using appropriate hashtags (e.g. #lego #legobuild) and following like minded users a good following can be built up in no time.

Ease of Use 5/5 | Popularity 5/5 | Interaction 5/5

Facebook

Facebook already has millions of users, so it pretty safe to say that some may have an interest in LEGO. A quick search reveals hundreds of groups, some with thousands of members. While it can be difficult to choose which groups to post in, try being members of general groups and one specific to a genre. Posting creations in several groups at once is a great way to gain feedback with different points of view.

Ease of Use 5/5 | Popularity 4/5 | Interaction 5/5

Twitter

Though less popular than Facebook, Twitter allows users to connect with millions of users. In terms of LEGO there is a strong following, but due to the interface Twitter is not conducive to significant commenting. However by having a popular or timely model (by using hashtags and tagging popular users) there is always a chance a creation can go viral, and for that reason it might be worth giving Twitter a shot.

Ease of Use 5/5 | Popularity 3/5 | Interaction 2/5

Youtube

Youtube is a great place to show your latest creation, even if it’s only a few images. While the site is known for video clips, a few special effects and a voiceover can make any model much more appealing. Ideally it would be better to film your model and provide commentary, but dozens of well known Youtubers successfully use the former approach.

Ease of Use 3/5 | Popularity 4/5 | Interaction 4/5

Pinterest

Pinterest is one of the best places to become inspired from LEGO and complete your next creation. The site has hundred of boards (similar to groups) that offers great inspiration from general to specific LEGO interests. While interaction is rare, models have a chance to be shared by hundreds, if not thousands, of users.

Ease of Use 5/5 | Popularity 5/5 | Interaction 2/5

Tumblr

Tumblr is less popular version of Pinterest for LEGO. The site uses hashtags but is not conducive for easy searching. Unless there is already a significant following it probably best to avoid using this site.

Ease of Use 5/5 | Popularity 2/5 | Interaction 2/5

LEGO Specific Sites

MOCpages

MOCpages is one of the first sites solely dedicated to LEGO. MOC stands for “my own creation”, a common acronym used throughout the LEGO community. While the site continues to be popular, crashes in recent years have caused many members to migrate other places. Despite the loss of some great builders, many people (though primarily children and young adults) continue to post great creations, enter contests, and receive a lot of feedback. One drawback of MOCpages is the lack of updates, which greatly hinders the functionality of the site. However the site is very kid friendly.

Ease of Use 3/5 | Popularity 3/5 | Interaction 4/5

Brickly

Brickly is another app on this list. Currently only available on the iOS system, the app is a combination of Flickr and Instagram with a clean contemporary feel. Brickly was released in August 2017 and time will tell how popular this app becomes. For more information check out ArchBrick’s article on Brickly, here.

Ease of Use 5/5 | Popularity 1/5 | Interaction 4/5

Eurobricks

Eurobricks in the world’s most popular forum geared towards LEGO. It also is one of the better sites for constructive feedback. Eurobricks has a number of threads and subcategories so it’s pretty easy to find a place to share your model. As a courtesy, remember to comment and critique other creations so more builders can improve as well.

Ease of Use 4/5 | Popularity 4/5 | Interaction 5/5

Rebrick

Rebrick is LEGO’s own fan site. The site is very family in a manner similar to MOCpages but is much more user friendly. Rebrick is primarily used for contests for a fair amount of builders post and interact on the site.

Ease of Use 4/5 | Popularity 3/5 | Interaction 2/5

Create Your Own Website

Not happy with the options listed? Then create your own website! A lot of builders enjoy customization of sharing their creations. The great thing is that creations can be shared to the sites mentioned in the list and link back to your website. Some great places to start for free are WordPress, Wix and Weebly.

More Sites

  • LEGO Ideas is a great site for sharing creations in hopes of having them become official LEGO sets.
  • Reddit is a great place to share other people’s creations, but never your own! The site is not meant for self promotion.
  • For selling models try Ebay. Bricklink’s MOC Shop is also a less popular alternative.

 

 

brickly – capture everything in life with bricks

Today marks the official launch of brickly, a new app for LEGO enthusiasts. brickly is a great way to:

  • Share your artistry with the world
  • Discover amazing creations
  • Build a passionate fanbase
  • Connect with talented creators
  • Collect, share, and discuss

After spending some time reviewing the app, brickly is a mixture of Flickr and Instagram has potential to be a real game changer in the LEGO community. While the app is currently only available for iOS products, there promises to be future updates to Android and web platforms.

For more information about brickly check out their website and iTunes page.

Interview: Jet Kwan

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Meet Jet Kwan, one of my favorite microscale builders. His works often consist of nanoscale landmarks from Hong Kong, to Vancouver to Paris and more. This is ArchBrick’s first “conversation” style interview so please take time to read the article. You can also check out more of Jet’s work here.

Jet, thanks for taking part in the ArchBrick interview. Could you tell me how you started building with LEGO?

14449192_191119534658191_3932819501891977216_n“Thank you ArchBrick for having me in this interview section. I guess I am the same as the other LEGO builders in the world, I started building LEGO when I was a child. As I remember, my dad bought me a LEGO police boat as a present for my sixth birthday. He taught me how to read the instructions and combine the pieces together. Later I found that I could build something else by using those pieces. Then I demolished it and built something like a small house and vehicle. It was really fun to me. After my first LEGO police boat, I started receiving other LEGO presents during Christmas and birthdays. Back then, there were LEGO exhibitions in Hong Kong every year. My parents would bring me and my sister to see the exhibition. I had the chance to see the amazing creations by LEGO experts. It was an eye-opening experience. That’s how I started my story with LEGO. I did give up LEGO when I was a teenager. At that time, I thought LEGO was only for kids, so I gave all my old LEGO to my cousin. Of course that was a silly idea! After I finished my education and started working, I found that LEGO diversified their products and became more attractive. So I started buying LEGO again.”

So you too experienced a dark age (time away from Lego), which is common among builders. After your return to Lego what led you to become interested in microscale?

15c4705f7851c1ca6c080e6186020067“When I first returned to LEGO, I only bought vehicles from the City series. After I got a few police cars, a fire truck and an airplane, I found that it was too easy to build. So I changed my passion to the modular buildings. But as all the LEGO fans know, the modular building series is quite large in size. I couldn’t find an area at home to display the buildings so I started thinking to build something smaller. In 2011, I visited the Legoland in Günzburg and I got my first LEGO Brandenburg Gate there. It was my first Architecture model. I love the size of the model and I think it can be a perfect home decor too. So I started to collect other products from the Architecture series.  Although I didn’t study Architecture in college, I am always interested in different kind of landmarks and buildings around the world. The LEGO Architecture series only has a few official releases every year which is really a long wait for the fans. So, I started to build my first LEGO MOC two years ago. It was a mini Neuschwanstein castle. I built it because I visited the castle before. When I looked at my inventory, I thought I had the useful bricks to build a mini castle so “why don’t I build my own castle?” I am so lucky that I am living in an area which has its own LEGO store.I can always go there and buy some useful bricks from the “Pick a Brick” wall. Microscale LEGO landmarks require more imagination when you build them, and the detail may not be as accurate as the bigger model. “How to use fewer bricks to build a landmark?” That’s something I always think about. This is the real challenge to build microscale landmark. I like this kind of challenge so I keep building microscale MOCs.”

I’m glad you mentioned that microscale LEGO landmarks require more imagination, which I think a lot of people, including LEGO builders, don’t understand. How do you choose which landmarks to build?

17663532_1778194722510709_2462160581629575168_n“As I mentioned before, when the landmark is microscale it can’t really show every detail of the construction, like the sculptures of a wall or the style of the windows. So I think I need to decide how to make the microscale model look like the original landmark. First, the color of the bricks is very important. The color of the model should be the same or similar to the real landmark. For example, when I wanted to build the Statue of Liberty, I needed to check if I have enough sand green bricks first. It’s because the color of the Statue of Liberty is sand green. I can’t build a yellow or a blue one.

 

20225379_304536333353652_7610278918586630144_nAs every model is small, I can’t show every detail in the model. So I have to determine what should be included. Apart from color, the shape of the bricks is also an important factor. One example is the Bank of China Tower from my latest Hong Kong Skyline model. The real Tower contains a lot of triangles and sharp edges. It’s nearly impossible to present it as a microscale model so I chose only the outline and the color of the tower as the most important elements to build. I used a few blue 1×1 slopes as the edges and a few blue 2×2 bricks as the base. It may not look exactly the same as the real tower but when people use their imagination, they still know what it is.

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There are plenty incredible architectures in the world. I would like to build those landmarks that I have visited before so when I look at it I can recall all the good memories.”

It’s really great that you are inspired from your travels. I know I often have the urge to build after visiting architecture in new places. You often display your work on social media, but have or do you participate in any LEGO groups or events?

unnamed“I did join a few LEGO groups in Facebook and share my LEGO MOCs there. Those Facebook groups provide a platform for LEGO builders to share their creations. Everyone is using smartphone nowadays. It is quite easy and convenient to share your creations with other people. I visited the Vancouver Brickcan 2017 in April. It was quite impressive as I saw so many masterpieces there. It brought me a lot of great ideas and I learned a few new building techniques. It was an amazing event for the LEGO fans to share their MOCs and exchange building experience. I am thinking of joining and displaying next year.”

It’s good that you post to social media; your landmarks definitely deserved to be seen! In closing, what would you say to any builders how have trouble getting started building micro landmarks. Do you have any other final thoughts?

“I would say building microscale models is more difficult than building a large model. When building a large model, you only need sufficient bricks. On the other hand, building microscale model, you need to know the technique of combining small bricks together. The more models you built, the more experience you could have. When you start building a model, it may not look the same as what you expect but don’t give up! After a few modifications, it will be better. I always modify my MOCs when I get some new bricks.

unnamed (2)The Vancouver Lookout Tower is an example of my creation process. I made the left one first. It’s all white because the elements I had for this model were white. After I got more bricks, I modified the model and made it look more similar as the real Tower. The one on the right is the final model.

Thank you ArchBrick once again for having me for the interview.”

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Please check out Jet’s Instagram for more great models!

3 Former LEGO Architecture Builders

With the launch of social platforms such as MOCpages, Flickr and Instagram LEGO builders, particularly architecture builders, have prominently posted their amazing creations. Some post more often than others, while some builders come and go as they please. Unfortunately many great LEGO architecture builders have not posted in recent years, leaving behind a longing for more of their work. This article takes a look at three great builders, Matija Grguric, Arthur Gugick, and Olly, who have not posted in any architecture creations in quite some time, in hopes that they will one day build again.

Matija Grguric

Last Architecture Post – June 2012

Matija Grguric is one of my all time favorite builders when it comes to LEGO architecture. His works mainly consists of recreations of world landmarks and famous buildings. The particular use of details in facade and landscape construction is what propelled Matija to one of the top LEGO architecture designers.

Fallingwater

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Machu Picchu

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Miyajima Torii

Miyajima Torii

Arthur Gugick

Last Architecture Post – June 2016

Arthur Gugick’s claim to fame is the tireless amount of detail put into his models. Whether it’s the subtle use of elements in cathedrals, residences or landmarks the models produced are always stunning. A single year hiatus is not that uncommon among builders, so here’s hoping to more LEGO architecture in the near future.

[UPDATE]

Due to this article Arthur Gugick has posted photos of his latest model!

Mont Saint-Michel

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White House

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Arc de Triomphe

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*Olly*

Last Architecture Post – October 2012

Olly is a very underrated builder, as good as Rocco Buttliere and Spencer_R without the prestige. His 1:650 scale models consists of mainly New York skyscrapers, but also includes a museum and firehouse. Though it’s been a quite a few years I’m not giving up hope on seeing some more highrise creations.

432 Park Avenue

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Metlife Building and Grand Central Station

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Empire State Building

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Interview: Chris Eyerly

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The latest edition of ArchBrick interviews focuses on Christopher Eyerly, a prominent Frank Lloyd Wright builder and photographer. You can check out more of his work on Flickr page.

Why do you enjoy building LEGO architecture?

“Growing up, I’ve always pursued engineering of sorts. At one point I wanted to be an architect. I feel like architecture is something that everyone can have a connection to in some way. It’s around us all the time. Putting it in LEGO form makes architecture even more accessible to everyone.”

What are some of the favorite architecture creations that you’ve modeled?

“My top 3 favorite models I’ve created are Robie House, SC Johnson Research Tower and Laurent House. These all Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. Describe the process of creating one of your latest buildings. For me, it starts with seeing something about the actual building that I can envision in LEGO. Then, there needs to be an interest in that particular building in some way. As an example, my latest build of Laurent House. I loved the challenge of building the hemicycle design, that was the LEGO connection. The additional interest for me was that it was the only house Wright designed to be wheelchair accessible.”

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You often construct builds designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. What draws you to this particular architect?

“Growing up in the midwest, Wright is everywhere, and a part of the culture. As I displayed Robie House for the first time at Brickworld 2009, I saw the connection people had with the house, and then indirectly, Wright. That human connection drew me even more to his work. I’ve built four Wright buildings so far, and hope to continue building more of his works.”

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What do you find most challenging about building?

“I think realizing the compromise between exact recreation, and form representation can be the most difficult.”

Discuss how you started building LEGO creations.

“I built as a child, but then went into a dark ages. When my first child was 4, he got his first LEGO set. This brought out a nostalgia I was unprepared for. I then starting looking online, and found LUGNET and LEGO Star Wars. I haven’t looked back since. (My oldest is now 16, so it’s been 12 years)”

Discuss any other general hobbies and interesting information about yourself (e.g. job, upcoming projects).

“I’ve recently picked up photography as an interest, and that has been a lot of fun. I still have a lot to learn, but I have already started to merge LEGO and photography together.”

Any tips for builders?

“Keep building, ask others, build whatever interests you. Don’t be afraid of big challenges, but also understand the limitations of the medium we use.

My flickr account is the best place so see both of my hobbies.”

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Like what you see? Check out all Chris’ works on Flickr. Thanks again Chris for the interview!

Brickworld Chicago 2017 – Part III

Part III of architecture creations at Brickworld Chicago 2017.

One Prudential – Jim Pirzyk

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Direwood Castle – Emmanuel

Small Town – Amanda Feuk

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Fountain Place – Rocco Buttliere

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Golden Gate Bridge – Rocco Buttliere

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Various Buildings – Kenosha LEGO Users Group (KLUG)

Chartres Cathedral – John Klapheke

Music Store – John Klapheke

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Bricks and Minifigs Modular – John Klapheke

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Antonio’s Pizza-rama – John Klapheke

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A Family History – John Klapheke

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Architectural Structure No. 1 – John Klapheke

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Train Layout – PennLUG and Texas Brick RR

Columbia Hotel and Consumers Power Building – David Kohrman

Metropolis – Paul Wellington

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Brickworld Chicago 2017 – Part II

Part II of architecture creations at Brickworld Chicago 2017.

AWANA Tower – Brandon Obert

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Bricknificient Mile – Beth Hanson

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Old MacDonald’s Farm – Molly A Selan

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Willis Tower – Mark Hartford

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Grand View Chamber – Prince Jiang and Yang Yang

Micropolis – TwinLUG

Ottawa Civic Hospital – Lucie Filteau

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Modular Castle Tavern – Eric Leis

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Grand Budapest Hotel – Andrew Mollmann

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Nebraska State Capitol – John Tooker

Octan Park Baseball Stadium – Ryan Degener

Little Venice – Rae McCormick and Phred Schunke

Stay tuned for the final part of the recap tomorrow!

Brickworld Chicago 2017 – Part I

Brickworld Chicago 2017 has arrived! The annual event draws hundreds of LEGO enthusiasts and thousands of visitors each year. This year’s event showcased hundreds of great creations, including some amazing works of architecture. Take a look a below at some of the best architecture creations of Brickworld Chicago 2017. Be sure and visit the blog tomorrow for the second of the three part series.

Hotel Grim – Tony Sava and A.J. Sava

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Bernard Schwartz House – Chris Eyerly

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Laurent House – Chris Eyerly

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Independence Day Destroyer over NYC – Allen T. Hickmon and Aaron Fiskum

Parris Over Paris – Bob Parris

Itter Castle – Andrew Spengler

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A Tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright – Riley Wygant

Oaken House – Brian Szmytke

Burg Pfalzgrafenstein – Robert Carney

Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow!