Built upon the remains of both the figurative slaughterhouse of World War II and a literal one, the United Nations headquarters that faces the East River today is actually something of a hodgepodge of architectural visions. It’s a mash-up of plans from some of the most internationally recognized design minds of the 1940s, including Oscar Niemeyer and Le Corbusier, whose schemes were ultimately combined into the UN HQ that we all know today. It’s like the way a bunch of kids can come together and construct some colorful bricolage out of the mixed-up medley of their Lego sets over the course of an afternoon.
That’s why it’s great to see the latest in Lego encourage kids and adults alike to re-create the iconic modernist building like miniature Niemeyers and Le Corbusiers. As part of the Lego Landmark series, the United Nations Headquarters set recreates the New York seat of international diplomacy, from the Secretariat building to the General Assembly, and right on down to the Dag Hammarskjöld Library.
Like other sets in Lego’s Architecture series, this one isn’t meant just for play but to instruct and inform about architecture. As such, there’s a detailed illustrated booklet enclosed that details the design and construction of the UN in both French and English. This book includes a history that traces the design from its original vision as an international capital city, to the appointment of a board of architect and designers that considered over 45 different plans before finalizing the design, right to the plaza’s completion in 1952.
To celebrate the release of the set, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon actually completed a 1.65-meter-tall Lego re-creation of the headquarters made of over 90,000 Lego bricks as part of UN Global Compact Leaders Summit focused on “Architects of a Better World.” Comparatively, the 597-brick set seems rather paltry, but if you can somehow manage to squeeze yourself fully onto its five-by-six-inch plaza, you will at least enjoy full diplomatic immunity from any crime that might otherwise be pursued against you by the American minifig industrial complex.
The United Nations Headquarters set is available now from Lego.com for just $49.99.