Tom AlphinTom Alphin
Tom is the Editor-in-Chief at Brick Architect. He founded the website in 2015 just before releasing his bestselling book The LEGO Architect, which teaches 7 styles of architecture using LEGO bricks. In addition to reviewing new LEGO Architecture sets, he likes to write articles exploring technical aspects of the LEGO hobby including LEGO storage, and the LEGO color palette.

Tom has written 96 stories for Brick Architect.

NEWLY RELEASED: Empire State Building & Trafalgar Square

Two exciting new LEGO Architecture models were released today!

#21046 Empire State Building
  • #21046 Empire State Building is a towering addition to the LEGO Architecture sereis. It has a whopping 1767 pieces for $129.99 / €99.99 / £89.99.
  • #21045 Trafalgar Square is a unique addition to the Architecture series, as it includes a lot more landscaping details! It has 1197 pieces and is available now for $79.99 / €79.99 / £79.99.

Both of these new sets are available now at shop.lego.com, and amazon.com.

(Our review copies are on the way—we’ll be sure to let you know what we think of the latest additions to the series!)

ᴘʀᴇᴠɪᴇᴡ: #21045 Trafalgar Square

A photo of the upcoming set was released on Facebook in conjunction with a signing event on April 27.

Now that we have an official photo of the latest addition to the LEGO Architecture series, we can explore what the set has to offer. This is the first of two sets slated for a summer release. (Learn about the upcoming #21046 Empire State Building in our earlier article.)

#21045 Trafalgar Square

#21045 Trafalgar Square

Initial Impressions:

My immediate reaction was not entirely positive. I’m worried that the landscaping, fountains, and Nelsons Column distract from the front facade of the National Gallery. I also noticed strong similarities to the recently discontinued #21029 Buckingham Palace set which also places the building behind a fountain, fence and landscaping.

On closer look, there are some clever building techniques being employed which I look forward to building first hand. I have never seen the half-plate staircase technique used in an official set (it typically uses 1×2 or 1×4 panels in a SNOT configuration.) It looks like 1×2 Technic bricks are used for the front steps, allowing 3L Bar to be used for the columns.

The main building is constructed using the same SNOT techniques used for the Buckingham Palace set. I can’t quite tell what part is being used to achieve a ½ plate lip between the first and second story of the building, but look forward to finding out. I’m curious to see how they approached the sloping driveway which integrates nicely with the rest of the set.

LEGO Architecture pioneer Arthur Gugick’s legacy

Arthur Gugick was killed in a car accident on March 30. He was an early pioneer of intricate fan-made LEGO Architecture creations.

I first learned about his work when I discovered his beautiful re-creation of St Basil’s Cathedral while researching my book. He also built models of Mont-Saint-Michel, the Taj Mahal, and other landmarks.

Arthur Gugick (1960-2019), with his model of St Basil's Cathedral.

Arthur Gugick (1960-2019), with his model of St Basil’s Cathedral.

In addition to LEGO Architecture creations, Arthur made numerous LEGO mosaics, often using printed tiles instead of the more common colored plates or tiles.

The following links highlight his life and legacy: