Lego Architecture Studio 30-day challenge

Update: The 30-day challenge described in this article took place in 2013. These early experiences inspired me to write the The LEGO Architect, a bestselling book which was published by No Starch Press in October 2015. I hope my 30-day challenge, and my book inspire you to create amazing LEGO Architecture.

As I mentioned earlier, I recently purchased the excellent Architecture Studio set, a big box containing over 1200 Lego bricks and the 272 page “Create your own Architecture” book which aims to inspire rather than provide any specific building directions.


Presenting the Lego Architecture Studio 30-day challenge…

I decided to create my own 30-day challenge inspired by the Lego Architecture Studio. The set includes a great selection of Lego bricks and a “Create your own architecture” guidebook which describes seven hands-on explorations covering Abstraction, Scale, Space and Section, Modules and Repetition, Surface, Mass and Density, and Symmetry. That’s a good start, but I will definitely need to come up with more projects to fill up the month!

Goal of project:

My main goal in taking on this project is to inspire others to include creative free-form Lego play in their life. Take the challenge, and share the Lego challenges you create.

My personal goal is to build better models through practice and research into advanced building techniques. I hope to learn the strengths and weaknesses of the choice of bricks included in this set, and will create a list of “missing” bricks that would enhance this set for advanced model builders.


If I’m going to take on this personal challenge, I should establish some simple ground rules to keep myself honest…

  • Clearly defined challenges: I want to make sure I define the challenge clearly before I build it. This is important to helping others try the 30-day challenge.
  • Use only the pieces in the set: I will try to build each challenge using only the bricks included in this set, plus a couple baseplates. That said, I might recruit a few colored bricks for certain projects.
  • 30 challenges in roughly 30 days: I want to make sure the project stays fun and I’m fairly busy, so my personal deadline is to complete 30 challenges before Thanksgiving.
  • Document and share my progress: It is important that I capture and share the results of each challenge on my blog. I hope that others will try these challenges as well!

(That said, since this is my project, I reserve the right to adapt the rules as I go.)

Sample challenges:

I haven’t defined all of the challenges in advance because I hope that the first couple challenges will give me ideas for more interesting challenges to complete later. I also hope that people following my progress will suggest additional ideas for me to try. The following are some of my initial ideas:

  • Build a microscale model of exterior of your home from memory.
  • Build a simple repeating structure using only simple blocks. Build a more complex architectural model inspired by that simple structure.
  • Bring your Lego to a building with interesting architecture or interiors. Recreate elements of the environment using your Lego bricks.
  • Browse books or the Internet to find a building you like. Build a model of that building.
  • Select a style of architecture. Make a new building inspired by the shapes and patterns common of that style.
  • Build a small Microscale home (base of around 4×4). Create a larger model of the same home and incorporate subtle new details which weren’t possible in a smaller model.
  • Build a Microscale home with a group of people where you take turns adding a few pieces to the model
  • Build a simple model from scratch and recreate it on your PC using Lego CAD software.
Ideas for additional challenges I should try? Please leave a comment below…

See all 30 challenges…

I’ve put together a list of all thirty projects I did during this challenge. Take a look at a few of the projects which catch your attention!

The same home built to two different scales.

I built the same home to two different scales on my 2nd challenge.

I built a home in the

For my 5th challenge,I built a home in the “shed” architectural style.

Dresser with a lamp accent.

It’s not all about buildings… For my 8th challenge, I made a dresser with a lamp.

My Impossible Escher "Waterfall" model.

For my 12th challenge, I created a model of Escher’s impossible “Waterfall” illustration.

My movie theatre facade

For my 17th challenge, I created a detailed Art Deco inspired movie theatre facade.

Detail of lattice and torches

For my 20th challenge, I created a castle.

Profile view highlights the three levels of roof-line.

For my 22nd challenge, I created a nice Craftsman-style home.

Lego Eagle (approximately minifig scale.)

For my 24th challenge I recreated Alexander Calder’s “Eagle” sculpture using Lego bricks.

Snow day for minifigs!

For my 26th challenge, I created a Ski Lodge to celebrate the beginning of ski season.

A Lego-scale library inside a full-sized library.

For my 30th challenge, I built a minifigure-scale model of the Map Room in the iconic Seattle Central Library.

Wrapping the project up…

The project was a lot of fun, but I’m happy to have a break! Now that the “official” 30-day challenge is complete, I am preparing a few articles to share what I learned during this project:

Entry in the "LEGO House" competition at

Entry in the “LEGO House” competition at

Related Projects

Even though the “30 day challenge” is done, I wanted to share links to related projects I’ve built.

Thanks for visiting. Please leave a comment below. If this looks like fun, you can buy the Lego Architecture Studio at Amazon, or from the LEGO store.

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7 Responses

  1. sharon says:

    This looks like fun.
    I went through the book when I first got the set but would love more challenges.
    And since November has 30 days, I will start next week.

  2. Tom Alphin says:

    That’s great Sharon, I hope you document your project as well!

  3. Matt says:

    Great Designs! I’m impressed with what you’ve come up with, I will definitely consider purchasing this set to help grow my imagination!

  4. Tom Alphin says:

    Welcome visitors from the German Language LEGO forum 1000Steine! I’ve received over 200 visits from this discussion…

  5. Tom Alphin says:

    I should also welcome members of the “LEGO Architecture” group on Facebook for featuring this article on their page…


  6. Tom Alphin says:

    Willkommen! This article is on the front page of, a popular German language LEGO site.


  7. Amir E Yousif says:

    I am very excited whereas, my book will arrive today … I would just like to know if these 30 days challenges model are included within the book or not …

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