Lego: The architect's favourite toy

How did these plastic bricks become part of so many of our childhoods? Tom Dyckhoff explores the history and appeal of the colourful toys that architects love.

Lego, the ubiquitous plastic toy, has become a global brand: there are 86 pieces of it for every person on the earth. It even has its own Hollywood film.

The building blocks were dreamt up by Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter in Billund, Denmark. He started a business in 1934 making carved wooden toys.

During the Nazi occupation of the country, anxious parents would buy Christiansen’s toys to cheer up their children. But the war created a wood shortage. So Christiansen bought a plastic moulding machine – which is how the modern Lego bricks as we know them began.

In this clip, Tom Dyckhoff explains that far from being a simple toy, Lego has a clear relationship with real-world buildings – and the colourful plastic blocks challenged the austere modern architecture of the post-war era.

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