Reverse engineering LEGO Architecture 21023 – Flatiron Building

Some photos recently surfaced of two upcoming additions to the LEGO Architecture series:

  1. The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C, a Neoclassical monument to the late US President.
  2. The Flatiron Building, an 22 story early skyscraper in New York City which is easily recognized for it’s narrow triangular shape.

I am excited for any new sets in the series, although the Flatiron building caught my attention more. This is partly due to my feeling that the upcoming Lincoln Memorial model isn’t as elegant as this version by the folks at brickcitydepot. I have not included the leaked photos of these unreleased sets on this site (although you can probably find them online if you search hard enough.)

Some photos of the Flatiron Building from my trip to NYC this June.

Some photos of the Flatiron Building from my trip to NYC this June.

Reverse engineering 21023 – Flatiron Building

I spent about an hour this evening reverse-engineering the flatiron building to see what we should expect, based only on the one blurry low-resolution photo I could find. Several people have critiqued the color choice, which appears to rely on “tan” and “dark tan”. I think it’s a totally reasonable color choice given the relatively limited palette of LEGO colors. Others have concerns that the model is overly simplistic, but so far I think it will be an average set in the overall series; not the best, but not the worst either.

My crude LEGO Flatiron re-creation.

My crude LEGO Flatiron re-creation.

Naturally, a wedge-shaped building requires some clever construction. LEGO isn’t really well suited to this shape. It looks like they decided to build the three faces of the building using SNOT (Studs not on top) technique. In practice, it means that the building is comprised of 3 flat panel modules which will likely be built flat, then stood on their side during final assembly.

The original building has rounded corners, and this is recreated using the new 2×1 (11477) and 2×2 (15068)sloped curves which were introduced in 2013 and 2014 respectively. (These suggest new colors: 2×1 hasn’t been offered in either color, and 2×2 doesn’t exist in tan.) Sadly, I don’t have *any* of either part, so I just used a 1×2 tile with a 1×1 plate under one side as a crude approximation.

Even the top employs SNOT techniques.

Even the top employs SNOT techniques.

The top looks like it will use 4x 60481 – “Slope 65 2 x 1 x 2” to cover up the triangular-shaped void between the three walls.

The side "zippers" together cleverly.

The side “zippers” together cleverly.

The cleverest detail is the use of alternating plates across the face, which looks to function a little like a zipper. This should at least keep the model from shifting too much. (I expect that hinges, or clips + pins will be used to attach the three walls more permanently, but I have not yet done any explorations about how the interior support structure will work.)

A sticky note gives this the refinement of any other official LEGO "Architecture" set.

A sticky note gives this the refinement of any other official LEGO “Architecture” set.

If I were to guess based on my brief analysis, I would expect this will be around 375 pieces and priced 29.99$. This puts it in the same category as Big Ben or The Eiffel Tower.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my preview / parts exploration. Let me know if you think my assessment is incorrect, or you have done some more investigations of your own by leaving a comment below…

5 Responses

  1. Jeff says:

    And what’s coincidental – or perhaps timed very well – is that LEGO is opening its flagship NYC store right across from the Flatiron Building this fall!

    • Tom Alphin says:

      And what’s coincidental – or perhaps timed very well

      @Jeff, that doesn’t feel like a coincidence to me… In fact, it supports my theory that LEGO Architecture sets sell extremely well as a tourist gift while visiting the attraction. It looked like they were doing some restoration work on Flatiron building in July, I wonder if it will be complete for around the same time as the new LEGO store and the release of the new set.

      Curious indeed.

  2. Stéphane769 says:

    Did you check your building with the LEGO 3D Catalog App ?

  3. Tom Alphin says:

    @Stephane, not yet… I’m going to wait for the official set to see how close my model came to the real thing.

  4. Ray McComas says:

    Is there a way to close the gap in the front of the building? I have tried “messaging” it into place, but it doesn’t quite finish it. Also, the rear view of the rooftop is not pleasing. I wonder if I am missing a part. I’ve seen no rear views of the kit. Thanks.

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