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Detroit Public Library
Minifig scale model of the Detroit Public Library - main branch.
About this creation
The Detroit Public Library
During Detroit's golden age at the beginning of the 20th century, a decision was made to build a new library. Famous architect Cass Gilbert won a competition to design the building which is called the Detroit Public Library Main Branch. In 1921 the three million dollar white Vermont marble Italian Renaissance style edifice was completed. The design of this library was probably influenced by the "City Beautiful" movement. This movement got its momentum from the so-called "White City" at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair - a vast and coordinated series of white-washed temporary neo-classical buildings that housed the fair's various exhibits.

The Lego Model
My Lego model of the building was designed and built in six sections for easy transport to MichLTC displays at train shows. The Library model made its debut as part of the massive 30x40 foot MichLTC (Michigan Lego Train Club) layout at the NMRA National Train Show in Cobo Conference Center in Detroit, Michigan. Just as it does in real life, my model of the main branch of the Detroit Public Library sat across the street (Woodward Avenue) from its counterpart in Detroit's cultural center, the Detroit Institue of the Arts (DIA). My Lego model of the DIA was one of my first buildings as an adult and it will most likely get upgraded to match the building techniques that I used on the DPL.


Building Statistics:

  • Construction Start: April 14, 2007.

  • Construction End: July 20, 2007.

  • Current Status: In use.

  • Height: Lowrise.

    • Roof: 45-50 bricks high.

    • Architectural Top: 55 bricks.

    • Spire/Antenna: n/a


  • Foorplate: 138 x 48 studs.

  • Floors: 3.

  • Weight: NA.

  • Portability: Building separates into six modules for transport to MichLTC shows.

  • Colors:

    • White.

    • Light blue gray - side walk, entablature details and roof.

    • Light gray - provides variation to roof.

    • Dark blue gray - window frames and walls around Cass Avenue entrance.

    • Dark red - columns in the Cass Avenue entrance.

    • Black - interior portion of the Cass Avenue entrance.









A couple of views of the completed model of the DPL.





A side view showing details of the ionic pillasters and arched window niches.



Since the prototype is such a large building, I have at the present time, only completed the front one third of the of the original structure. In 1963 a large addition was added to the back of the real library facing Cass Avenue. I included the new Cass entrance as part of my Lego model because I liked the colors. It is quite a contrast to the almost pure white of the original structure.



Here are a few shots of the Library in the MichLTC layout at the NMRA National Train Show in Detroit (July 27-29, 2007). In the 2nd picture you can also see a giant Uniroyal tire. There actually is an 80 foot high "tire" next to the I-94 freeway west of Detroit.





A couple of pictures I took of the real building. In 1921 when the building was new, there were no trees to get in the way. The second picture is a view of the library's front entrance. The phrase "Knowledge is power" is engraved above the door. Names of famous writers and philosophers appear to either side above the first story.





Comments

 I like it 
  May 22, 2012
Wow - A totally magnificent building! It certainly gives me inspiration.
 I like it 
  February 10, 2012
Very nifty build!Great job!:-))
  February 10, 2012
Great stuff, it looks very close to the real thing!
 I like it 
  December 30, 2010
Beautiful!! Beautiful! Congratulations!
 I made it 
  March 22, 2009
Quoting darcy de WOW... Amazing. Where on earth do you get all your bricks from? I loved LEGO as a kid and now at 34 i am itching to get my hands on some and and build the many mansions and buildings i have designed over the years. Any tips for getting hold of LEGO bricks as i think its gonna cost me thousands if i have to buy from new.
For real estate the mantra if LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION while for LEGO builders, the mantra is Bricklink, Bricklink, Bricklink! Sure you can buy parts from LEGO.COM or EBAY, but bricklink.com is usually the most cost effective and it has both millions of current and older parts. I have made a few EBAY purchases but ordering from EBAY is a form of gambling - you often do not know the condition of the parts. For certain parts LEGO.COM can be cheaper. By the way, this hobby HAS cost me thousands!
 I like it 
  March 22, 2009
WOW... Amazing. Where on earth do you get all your bricks from? I loved LEGO as a kid and now at 34 i am itching to get my hands on some and and build the many mansions and buildings i have designed over the years. Any tips for getting hold of LEGO bricks as i think its gonna cost me thousands if i have to buy from new.
 I like it 
  January 6, 2009
There´s something I do not understand. Why does a creation like this just get a few comments?
 I like it 
  September 16, 2008
Wow, I am envious of your collection and even more so of your MOCs. I can only dream of having the time and skill to create half of what you have done with the bricks. This library is totally sweet awsomeness.
 I like it 
  September 3, 2007
this is truly a beautiful building. excellent work
 I like it 
  September 2, 2007
An amazing design to be sure; I have never had the pleasure of seeing the original, but it would seem to be accurate given the pictures you have supplied. Lee.
 I like it 
  September 2, 2007
Excellent detail! A truly outstanding building!
 
By Jim Garrett
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LEGO models my own creation MOCpages toys shop Detroit Public LibraryBuildings


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