Iconic Structures, Deconstructed: Building the Replicas


The world’s iconic structures are a sight to behold. The sheer size of the Burj Khalifa is matched by the glass facade that covers a majority of the 828-meter supertall. The Eiffel Tower, arguably the world’s most instantly recognizable structure, looks even more striking in the evenings thanks in part to the 20,000 light bulbs used to keep the tower visible to all throughout the night.

But behind these structures are the minutiae of facts and histories that collectively construct a fascinating narrative that not everyone may know. These structures, like Rome, were not built in a day, and in some cases it took many years—not to mention many workers and building materials—to bring them to life. In this series, Blueprint, presented by CBRE, highlights the fun facts and tidbits behind some of our favorite landmarks to give readers a new appreciation of the small details that make these structures so remarkable. This week, we race against the clock to build miniaturized models of four iconic structures: the Eiffel Tower, Burj Khalifa, White House and Sydney Opera House.

While it took centuries to build Rome, it took our team considerably less time to assemble LEGO models of four of the world’s most recognizable landmarks.  

In real time, it took two years, two months and five days for Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel and his team to build the Eiffel Tower, which debuted in 1889. In “LEGO time,” it took our builder just 1 hour, 24 minutes and 15 seconds to assemble a replica tower.

As for the Burj Khalifa, the tallest artificial structure in the world, it took our builder 1 hour, 40 minutes and 20 seconds to construct its LEGO counterpart. That’s a far cry from the 1,325 days and 22 million man-hours it took to finish the real supertall.

It took eight years to turn the White House into a home fit for an American president. Our builder spent 2 hours, 38 minutes and 40 seconds creating a miniaturized model.

Then there’s the Sydney Opera House. Consisting of nearly 3,000 LEGO pieces, it took not one but four builders to assemble a LEGO version of the iconic venue over the course of two days. In the end, it took a total of 8 hours, 28 minutes and 7 seconds to finish the job. And unlike the real Sydney Opera House, which came in 10 years late and 1,457 percent over budget, our team was able to complete the job without breaking the bank. 

As this video shows, building miniaturized versions of iconic structures requires time, skill, patience and a lot of LEGOs! 


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