On Saturday, May 27, 2023, the National Building Museum opens a major new long-term exhibition, BRICK CITY, created entirely from LEGO® bricks. Celebrating iconic architecture from cities around the world, BRICK CITY features 37 carefully recreated constructions created by U.K.-based artist Warren Elsmore. The exhibition will be on display at the National Building Museum for two years.
We were invited to a press preview so we could share this exciting new interactive exhibit with families. The National Building Museum is perfect for families ⏤ both locals and visitors to DC. BRICK CITY is a must for all families in DC.
BRICK CITY was created using only bricks ⏤ no sets or custom pieces ⏤ totalling a quarter of a million bricks and taking about 1,200 hours to complete. The National Building Museum is the perfect location for such a feat of art and engineering as it too is made of only bricks ⏤ 15 million to be specific.
BRICK CITY Exhibition
Visitors will be transported around the globe and throughout time to see buildings from all seven continents. The world tour destinations include: lively streetscapes from Cartagena, Colombia; Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans; intricate temples from India to Mexico; and imaginative castles from medieval Japan to modern Las Vegas, among other locations.
Washingtonians will appreciate the intricate detail on the Lincoln Memorial model made of 2,000 LEGO® bricks. We couldn’t believe how realistic the miniature version of one of our favorite monuments.
The exhibition offers a chance to discover new buildings as well as some more recognizable icons—spotting surprising common ground between buildings thousands of years and miles apart, such as the Roman Colosseum and the 2012 Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.
The magnificent centerpiece of the exhibition is London’s St. Pancras Station, measuring 12-feet-long and built from over 180,000 standard LEGO® bricks. We visited this train station in 2012 while in London and were blown away by the detail and accuracy. Our 10-year-old was enthralled with the building techniques Warren Elsmore used to created arches using only straight pieces.
“The National Building Museum’s mission is to inspire curiosity about the world we design and build. BRICK CITY showcases Warren Elsmore’s innovation and creativity through the 37 varied and complex models included in this exhibition” said Aileen Fuchs, President and Executive Director for the National Building Museum. “We hope our visitors are inspired by the technically complicated St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, the 12-foot long St. Pancras station model, or how Elsmore incorporated the curve of the Olympic stadium with square bricks. Our goal is for visitors to leave this exhibition inspired and with a renewed sense of wonder about the possibilities of what you can create with beloved LEGO® bricks!”
Builders young and old can channel their creativity in an interactive area at the end of the exhibition where they can build their own masterpieces out of LEGO® bricks. There are large DC map tables with building prompts to inspire builders.
An expansive “graffiti wall” will provide a canvas to create pixelated art using the toy bricks, while building areas will prompt visitors of all ages to build imaginative cities of their own. We left some graffiti on the wall for your family to find. Take a picture and tag us on social media @theadvfam if you find it!
“As the largest producer of clay brick in the United States, General Shale is pleased to be the presenting sponsor of BRICK CITY,” Luke Guinn, Director of Marketing for North America said. “Brick has a rich history, which spans the ages of time. This exhibition is a wonderful demonstration of the global connection we share through architecture, and aligns with our mission to express the sustainable design flexibility in our products.”
The National Building Museum is a long-standing family favorite in DC. Under the leadership of Aileen Fuchs, the National Building Museum is inspiring visitors of all ages to look at the built environment differently; inspiring all to make a better and more colorful built world.
National Building Museum
401 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Open Thursday–Monday, 10 am–4 pm
Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas
Metro: The Museum is located across the street from the Judiciary Square (Red Line) station’s F Street NW entrance. Alternatively, you can take the Yellow/Green/Red lines to the Gallery Place-Chinatown station and walk two blocks east to the Museum.
Metrobus: Three Metrobus routes have stops located near the Museum: D6, 80, and X2.
Capital Bikeshare: The closest bike stations are located at 5th and F Streets NW; 7th and F Streets NW; and 4th and D Streets NW.
DRIVING AND PARKING
Parking is challenging near the Museum, but the museum has partnered with SpotHero to help visitors find and purchase guaranteed parking at many convenient locations in the area.