LEGO Architecture has earned a loyal following over the past few years, and with the growing interest in the theme it's no surprise that it has spilled over into other areas as well. Now there is a pretty spectacular coffee table book available from DK, and like the sets it's big on style.
A few weeks ago I came home to find a fairly substantial padded envelope leaning against my front door, peeling open the envelope I was delighted to discover that DK had sent me a review copy of LEGO Architecture The Visual Guide. In my excitement to open it I nearly dropped the book as it slid out of it's heavy duty sleeve. Needless to say that was my first impression of the book: "This thing is a real Chihuahua killer" (one slip, and it's goodbye Chico). This is of course intentional, it's a coffee table book, so it's meant to be big, beautiful and on display. And it is.
The book itself is heavily bound in thick hardback, and comes in an equally robust sleeve. The cover art on the book itself is an echoed silhouette of the sleeve cover, and it all lets you know you are holding a quality book in your hands. The pages are very nice semigloss with superior printing and outstanding graphics. The binding is also high quality and meant to last, so I'm sure this book will be enjoyed for years to come. All this adds up to a pretty heavy book though. You will not be laying down on the couch with this held over your head, unless you're looking for a serious bonk on the noggin.
After a brief introduction and history of the theme, you quickly get to the real content of the book, LEGO Architecture sets. And this is essentially what the book is all about, a detailed look at all the sets offered since the theme was "reborn" in 2008. Each chapter is about a particular model, and gets fairly granular about it's design. I especially enjoy the exploded view of each model, although it is a little odd to keep having to turn the book sideways to get a proper look at it. Each chapter ends with a look at the real building that inspired the model.
The renderings in the book are beautiful, with multiple views of all the models. It's quite evident that extra TLC was taken with every single image, and it all adds up to a rich visual experience. The writing, however, left me a little put off to be honest. The white text on black backgrounds in a somewhat hard to read font didn't help, but that's not the real problem. The writing is just too, how should I put it, "flowery"? It all seemed to take itself way too seriously and was a bit too self congratulatory or maybe even arrogant. Yes, I agree that architecture is art, and building with LEGO is an art form. But let's not forget we're talking about little buildings built from toy bricks.
Overall it's a fantastic book, super-soaked in visual style and eye candy. It's a pleasure to thumb through over and over, and I'm sure it will appeal to a wide range of readers, both young and old. Even those that wouldn't consider themselves a LEGO enthusiast will still enjoy the history, artistic layout and rich aesthetic style of the book. I give it 4 out of 5 Nerdlys
If you'd like to own LEGO Architecture A Visual Guide please consider supporting BrickNerd and using this link.