ʀᴇᴠɪᴇᴡ: Aarhus Rådhus by Glenn Knøsgaard

While the official LEGO Architecture sets focus on globally-recognized landmarks, many LEGO fans build intricate models of famous buildings from their home town. Let’s take a closer look at this custom LEGO set based on City Hall in Aarhus, Denmark.

Aarhus Rådhus is an unofficial LEGO Architecture set which was designed by Glenn Knøsgaard for the 2017 Klodsfest event in Aarhus, Denmark. I was sent a review copy of this set by Klaus Algreen, Chairman of the Byggepladen LUG who organized the event.

Aarhus Rådhus:

  • Year released: 2017
  • Price: 400 DKK (about $65)
  • Piece count: 779
  • Number of sets: 525
  • More info: hsfo.dk
Box includes two large plates, three large bags, two small bags, and one instruction booklet.

The box includes two large plates, three large bags, two small bags, and one instruction booklet.

The Model

Fans of the LEGO Architecture series will find the main stages of the build familiar, as you begin by assembling the base which includes a black tile border and printed nameplate. Unfortunately, I was stumped on the very first page, since you can’t really see the edges of each part, especially the dark-colored black plates.

The instruction booklet is beautifully printed, but it's difficult to see the edges of each piece.

The instruction booklet is beautifully printed, but it’s difficult to see the edges of each piece.

One big difference from the official sets is that the base is a bit heftier than real sets, due to two heavy 16×16 plates. This does create a very substantial platform for the rest of the model.

A lot of pieces are added on each step.

A lot of pieces are added on each step.

As you can see, you will add a lot of parts at each step in the instruction booklet, since the booklet is only 44 pages long.

Some of the exterior landscaping is built at this stage in the build process. This includes a small rise in the back-left of the model covered in grass.

The completed base.

The completed base.

After completing the base and some of the landscaping, we jump right into assembly of the building. 194Medium Stone GreyLight Bluish Gray bricks are used for the building exterior. It’s not a perfect choice, since the real color is somewhere between gray and tan.

The building beginning to take shape.

The building beginning to take shape.

This set uses nearly as many 1×1 headlight bricks as #21030 United States Capitol Building (which has 16 more than this set).

The set uses a whopping 162 1×1 Headlight Bricks.

The set uses a whopping 162 1×1 Headlight Bricks.

I’m surprised that the model took 2.5 hours to build—that’s way more time consuming than I would expect for a set with less than 800 pieces! The longer build time is caused by difficult to read instructions and additional time required to carefully align lots of 1×1 tiles, 1×1 Cheese Slopes, and 1×1 Headlight Bricks.

Aarhus Rådhus. LEGO Model by Glenn Knøsgaard. (Photo: Colin, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Aarhus Rådhus. LEGO Model by Glenn Knøsgaard. (Photo: Colin, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Note: There is an error on page 35. The correct part numbers should be four (4) 1×1 round brick in 192Reddish Brown, and twenty (20) 1×1 round plate in 28Dark GreenGreen.

Technique Highlights

It’s always interesting to see the creative building techniques of different LEGO Artists.

A few of my favorite techniques featured in this model:

  • Transparent 1×1 Cheese Slopes look good as skylights on the roof.
  • The clock tower is cleverly designed, relying on lots of 3L bars and 1×1 round plates w/ hole.
  • I always appreciate plants and landscaping in a finished model. Including plenty of trees and bushes is a nice touch!

About the Parts

While the set uses 100% new and authentic LEGO parts, there aren’t any rare parts in the set besides the two custom printed clock elements, and the 1×8 black nameplate tile. The nameplate tile is especially well printed, and will fit-in perfectly next to the rest of your official LEGO Architecture sets.

It is not likely for a custom LEGO set to include new or rare parts, since they usually need to purchase the parts from BrickLink and carefully sort the parts into sets. Even if they were able to source parts directly from LEGO, they wouldn’t be able to get rare or custom parts. (…which is entirely possible—Aarhus is only an hour from Billund.)

Conclusion

It is a great joy to build unofficial LEGO models by talented LEGO artists from around the world. Fans use different building techniques and make different tradeoffs than LEGO sets designers.

This model was no exception. While the model looks great alongside official LEGO Architecture sets, there are a number of key differences from an official set. For one, the base is more robust than most official sets, employing several layers of plate to give it an extremely strong foundation. I also noticed that the large number of stacked 1×1 parts made the build process much slower and more difficult to get parts aligned correctly than in most official sets.

Most notably, the building instructions are significantly harder to follow than in most official sets. It is extremely difficult to see the edge of each piece, and each step adds way more pieces than most official sets. There are also some minor errors such as the part quantities for a given step, and situations where the angle the model is positioned does not allow you to see where all the parts need to go (although you can guess pretty easily).

Completed model and packaging.

Completed model and packaging.

Thankfully, the final model is beautifully detailed and very satisfying. I enjoy how a lot of 3L and 4L bars are used to create a tower surrounded by columns, and the two custom-printed clock faces used on the tower. Despite my lack of familiarity with the real building, I’m sure this will remain a highly sought set for people visiting or living in Aarhus.

Have you had a chance to see or build this model? I’d love to hear your impressions—leave a comment below.
Klaus Algreen provided this set for the purposes of this review. The opinions in this article are strictly my own—providing sets for review does not guarantee a positive review. Photos in this article are by Tom Alphin unless otherwise noted. Visit the About page for more info about our journalistic standards and affiliate programs.

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