JACKI LYDEN, host:
Welcome back to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.
The newest trend in the world of toys might be a tough pitch for the little ones.
(Soundbite of advertisement)
(Soundbite of music)
Unidentified Man #1: Hey kids, tired of those same, old LEGOs?
Unidentified Man #2: I don't want to make the Starship Enterprise.
Unidentified Man #1: Are those little bricks making you sick?
Unidentified Man #2: Optimus Prime again?
(Soundbite of groaning)
Unidentified Man #1: Well, it's time to snap out of it. Introducing the all-new, Frank Lloyd Wright LEGO collection.
Unidentified Man #2: The Guggenheim Museum, all right.
Unidentified Man #1: Kids are going crazy over Usonian homes and organic architecture.
Unidentified Man #2: I want to make Fallingwater.
Unidentified Man #1: That's right. Get yours today and be the envy of all those kids stuck with I. M. Pei high modernism.
Unidentified People: We love Frank Lloyd Wright. Yeah.
(Soundbite of cheering)
LYDEN: Okay, maybe that's not the right angle for this marketing campaign, but the product is for real.
There are new LEGO designs based on the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.
First, there's the Guggenheim with its unmistakable honeycomb of cylindrical stacks. It's hard to imagine building that from the LEGO bricks you had as a kid.
Mr. ADAM REED TUCKER (Owner, Brickstructures Incorporated; Creator, LEGO's Frank Lloyd Wright Collection): They are standard LEGO pieces, standard LEGO bricks and plates.
LYDEN: Adam Reed Tucker is the man behind the designs. He's especially proud of his 800-piece Fallingwater.
Mr. TUCKER: That one's actually interactive. It actually comes apart in a puzzle-like formation so you can kind of get into the guts of the building, so to speak, and see the levels, understand his use of cantilever and how the forms play together. And then also, the building lifts up from the actual surroundings or the environment or what we call the site, and what's neat about that is people can actually see how the foundation of a structure is rooted into its environment.
LYDEN: Adam Reed Tucker feels he's elevated these toys to an art form. Think of these LEGO designs like framing a jigsaw puzzle or building a sailboat in a bottle. It's a craft you can put on display once you've assembled it.
Tucker gave up life as an architect three years ago to create LEGO art. Since then, he's developed a number of complex, stunning structures: The John Hancock building, the Seattle Space Needle, and of course, the Empire State Building.
Tucker hopes that while LEGO fans are enjoying themselves, they'll learn to appreciate the architecture that went into the actual buildings.
Mr. TUCKER: Through the use of a companion booklet in the set, it briefly touches on some of the architectural significance and some of the history, just enough to keep you interested, but not enough to put you to sleep like many of the classes that I had in college.
LYDEN: But are there enough adult LEGO fans to make these designs a hit?
Mr. TUCKER: I certainly hope so. Partly, the idea behind this is branching out to a new audience, and it's something that kids of all ages, adults alike, can play with and build and learn.
LYDEN: The Frank Lloyd Wright collection of LEGO architecture will be available in stores soon. The Guggenheim will go for about $40. Fallingwater, that's going to set you back close to $100.
You can see what these masterpieces look like as LEGO buildings on our Web site at npr.org.