MOC: New Century Corner

Hullo, folks! Here's what I've been building for last few months (since November, actually, but intermittently). These five early 1900s style modulars were on display on our LUGs 600-module (one is 32x32 studs, no baseplates used) collaborative town on Model Expo 2016 in Helsinki Fair Centre couple of weeks ago. I packed them in a cardboard box and travelled 1000 km by train with them! Fortunately I made some of the buildings (unnaturally) thin, otherwise I couldn't have made it... Anyway, these buildings are based on my love of old, grand architecture. There are some strong Jugend/Art Nouveau influences, though most of these can't be labelled as AN in its pure form. Inspiration is drawn mostly from buildings in Prague, a beautiful city definitely worth visiting. 
Buildings from left to right are:

House of Two Whistling Geezers: I'm very happy with the roof. It is based on a building located in Czech spa town Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad). I indented to use it on my long-time Unseen University WIP but it was too robust and turned out in to a modular house. The roof has some Gothic elements, but the elephant tail detail and the arch above the gateway are hints of Art Nouveau design. The faces of Two Whistling Geezers are reference to somewhat humorous faces typical in Finnish Jugend/National Romanticism style.

House of Two Sisters: The first house built in this display. Hoarded some nice old light yellow bricks in a LUG event and this was a natural way to put them in use. Is loosely based on Art Nouveau houses on the Central Square of Prague. I was surprised that I was able to photograph white-on-white so nicely.

House of the Bat-Lord and Three Sinners: Probably the most Art Nouveau-heavy building here. I wanted to use strong and dramatic colors, and the themes of the building evolved around them. I'm especially happy with the top part of the facade. The elephant tails are super sweet AN parts. This building doesn't have any particular real-life counterparts.

The House of Secret Society of Aviation: The main building. The wall on 45 degree angle is connected with TECHNIC axles that allow free slip; Therefore no challenging mathematics are needed. The 18-stud-wide wall is slid between the side walls with axles and piston connectors. It's surprisingly sturdy, as it's connected like that on two places, on the top and the bottom.

Designing this started with a large, lone window. The black inner arch uses some heavy SNOT and looked nice, so I Bricklinked pieces for two more of them (building with two large windows side by side almost always reminds of a face. Only human things). The shape of the building evolved around them. I wanted to use them on the second floor, so I had to invent something for the street level; I settled with a grandiose, almost church-like doorway and couple of elegant windows often seen on Art Nouveau Houses. I also went with strong geometric shapes with black, light grey and medium dark flesh. They created a nice contrast with the round shapes.

The dome, based on design of Castor-Troy and developed further with some dinosaur-tail iron arches, was going to used on one of the building, and this was the natural choice, being the grandest. I also had ideas of a globe, similar to one used on Tietz Store in Berlin before WW2, using Dagobah and clip-bar-rails as meridians (the Equator was tricky!) attached to a roof. Well, I thought that heck, better put all the grandiose elements in one place, and slapped the globe, finished with golden winged warrior, on the top of the dome, and connected the dome to the top of the biggest building... It's quite cool, if you don't mind me saying, and combined many elements I love in late 19th - early 20th architecture.

This is the only building here featuring a bit of interior: As the windows are rather big, there's a 7-stud-wide tile stove on the angled back wall, and a portrait of Fat Lady above it. The dome illuminated is somehow. The rest of the details include sand green SNOT cheese roof to balance the color of the globe and some Angel statues continuing the wing motif; Don't blink!

The House of Golden Frogs: I wanted to something different with the general shape of this building, and it turned out having white baroque-esque first floor and red second floor with some Art Nouveau elements. With glass doors and large clock this might be a public building rather than an apartment building, probably a club or a music hall. But there's no interior (it's not deep enough) so I'm not sure.

Again, the build started with the windows, which are similar to ones in the previous house but some elaborate and heavy. Some Bionicle parts are used alongside frogs and decorative elements from Friends Grand Hotel. The other key parts were the columns on the first floor using white wing elements for more interesting shape. Arranging the columns was tricky, but I'm happy with the result.

After finishing the buildings I had to populate the layout. There isn't much figures inside the buildings (okay, I confess, none, except in the gateways) as there isn't interiors nor always even floors, but there's plenty of fuss in the street. I wanted the characters to be from late 1800s or early 1900s, and there's some figs seen before in my steampunk dioramas or minifig barfs. But there are also some odd references. There's somebody up to exterminate a drunkard in the first portcullis. At the corner roof, the famous detective, his doctor friend and the (clone) folks of Scotland Yard are up to make an arrest. Johnny Thunder is visiting the city between his numerous adventures. Several nobs have gathered at the doors of the House of the Golden Frogs.

Now I've had enough of modular house building for a while, but I'm planning to eventually return to this layout and make a whole block, maybe sized 4x3 modules (128x96 studs), with four corner houses. But next up some character builds - I promise!



Tom said...

I'm just speechless!
This is like the essence of my love to Lego and architecture. And my capital, Prague 😉, too. Whenever You come to visit Prague again, I would love to join Your company!

Tom said...

Eero, have You seen the quarter of Vinohrady? There's plenty of fantastic villas. I have to "Lego" one of them for myself too. It's not AN, just very formal one, but I love it. Take a Google Street view in Dykova 5, I always have to turn myself around. It's the house with red tower on its right side.
There are plenty of wonderful villas on this side of street and neighboring streets...

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