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Thanks to the work of fellow Bricks moderator jncraton getting us registered as a Recognised LEGO Fan Media site, we were invited to send a representative to the AFOL Opening event of The LEGO House - Home of the Brick a week before it opened.

This event was primarily a chance for The LEGO Group to say "thank you" to all the Adult Fans Of LEGO for all their support over the years, but especially with their help putting together The LEGO House - many of the attendees had models on display or had been involved in the planning of the building, right down to naming the café "Brickaccino".

After the doors were opened, we had a chance to get our personalised RFID wristband (this is a standard feature, not just a special treat for us - more on this later) and I grabbed a coffee from the café (I decided that I didn't need an "Overpriced Coffee" for $37 and so settled for a more affordable cortardo) we had a welcome from Jesper Vilstrup and Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, along with a introduction from representatives of the Skærbæk Fan Weekend which is also happening this weekend.

Kjeld and some AFOLs

Kjeld in particular re-iterated the point that The LEGO House is for LEGO fans of all ages - and that we should all feel at home in the new Home of the Brick, and feel free to participate and use the areas and spaces as our own. LEGO User Groups and others will be able to use the spaces for events, gatherings and celebrations, as well as just visiting and enjoying the facilities.

The areas of The LEGO House

  1. Welcome and Lobby
  2. Tree of Creativity and Masterpiece Gallery
  3. Experience Zones
  4. History Collection
  5. Parting Gift and LEGO House App

Closing Thoughts

Personally, I had a great time here, and think my kids would enjoy it as much as me - there's plenty of inspiring builds as well as fun little details throughout, and enough LEGO to keep everyone busy for a few hours. With only around 600 AFOLs in the venue it didn't feel crowded or overly busy, and we were all very considerate when rummaging through the (surprisingly) deep LEGO bins to find that last 1x1 tile! How I would feel trying to do the same when there's a few kids also rummaging amongst them I honestly don't know - possibly a little frustrated, but I guess that comes down to overall numbers - but part of the challenge is in building within some constraints!

Ticket and food prices seem fairly reasonable, and I'm sure it could be easily combined with a trip to LEGOLand (almost next door). Travel around Billund is fairly easy on public transport, and it's all very close to the airport.

All my photos are visible in this Google album:
AFOL LEGO House Opening

Edit to add: LEGO have confirmed that they'll be selling about 600 tickets per session (morning or afternoon entry), so it shouldn't feel all that different even in peak periods.

The report reads slightly better if you sort by "Oldest" ;) ‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾↘

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    This is a brilliant report, thank you! I'm so delighted to see how much much thought has gone into the design of the LEGO house. I would love to see it again once it's open. – Ambo100 Sep 23 '17 at 19:50
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    This is a fantastic write-up! Thanks for sharing. It looks like you had a great time! – jncraton Sep 24 '17 at 0:31
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    It's probably not worth it to bother with public transport go get from LEGO House to LEGOLand (or the other way), it's only a little over 1 km, and most people will be able to walk that faster than the average wait for the bus. – Henrik Sep 28 '17 at 14:42
  • That is true, and to be honest the nearest stop to the house at the moment isn't actually much closer anyway ;) It was more a comment on getting there from hotels around Billund or the airport (which I admit is only about 3km once you've walked around the perimeter. – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Sep 28 '17 at 16:37
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3. Experience Zones

Coming down from the Gallery, you head into the experience zones - the four coloured areas representing different themes within the house.

Each zone has its own terrace area on the roof, covered in the rubber surface typically found in playgrounds, with different activities to let the younger visitors let off some steam from climbing frames to steps.

Most of the core areas (World Explorer, City Architect, LEGO Brick Builder and the Critter Creator especially) have DUPLO areas so that everyone can join in with the creative building - and you are certainly encouraged to build and share your creations!

Green - World Explorer, Character Creator and Story Lab

I started in the green World Explorer zone, taking in the impressive city builds, filled with both little jokes that most will get to various AFOL in-jokes that might not be as obvious! Around the edge of the zone are a number of displays of MOCs from the community, with different rooms and items in various scales, but all excellent builds.

Ghostbusters and Gollum in a cave

After admiring the city, I made a couple of characters in the Character creator - massive selections of minifig parts to make your personal figure - and this was the first real opportunity to use the wristband - once you've made your characters, there are "photo booths" around the space with some handy studs to place your figure on and take a photo, with optional frames that you can then tag to your band for later.

Character Creator

Next it was on to the Story Lab - here up to 18 people (or pairs) can spend 10 minutes making a stop motion animation. You check-in before you start and are assigned a stage: each stage has three fixed cameras and a core stage set (currently a river front in the city, with a farm off to the right) along with a number figures, vehicles and props for your scene. The software gives you a nice onion-skin view of your scene and the previous shot as well as playing your animation each frame to see how it's coming along, and some special effects can also be added. Once the time is up you view the animation with intro and credits, and it's stored to your band for later.

Story Lab

Blue - City Architect, Robo Lab and Test Driver

Moving into the Blue City Architect zone you're confronted with a physical LEGO SimCity environment - a number of tables covered in square holes ready to accept 6x6 plates, with an interactive projection over the top - lots of little minifigs can be seen scurrying around the bare spaces asking for different types of buildings (red homes, green parks, yellow industrial/office and blue municipal) as well as some larger stadiums. Around the tables are building zones - filled with bricks and elements to create the different types of building. As you place them on the table the roads join up and the figures move gratefully into their new zones.

LEGO SimCity

The Robo Lab, similar to the Story Lab requires a pre-registration process to assign you your robot, and then it's your turn to go and try and rescue the Arctic team that got trapped in ice while they were trying to locate some woolly mammoths! Your robot has a number of simple commands (forwards, backwards, rotate left or right, flamethrower and ice cannon) and it's your job to program a number of moves that will hopefully free the mini-figs. As you'd expect, chaining a number commands is more efficient, but any errors with the amount of turn can rapidly add up!

Robo Lab Arctic Rescue

The robots are based around an EV3 heart, but interact with the projected landscape, refusing to cross water, celebrating the release of each mini-fig and so on. The assistant even had a LEGO Claw arm for separating any "boisterous" robots.

Finally for the blue zone is the Test Driver area, where you can build a car to attempt two different challenges - a 4 way race and a fairly tough jump through a hoop! You can grab a photo of your creation at one of the booths scattered around the area which are again added to your wristband.

Red - Brick Builder, Creative Lab and Library

The Red LEGO Brick Builder zone is dominated by the LEGO Falls - a massive "waterfall" of bricks cascading down from near the ceiling, with many troughs of bricks to rummage through and build with.

Off to one side is the "Creative Lab" where a themed collaborative build is taking shape - the theme we were working to was "A graffiti castle", making bricks and gargoyles to build up the sculpture. I think my attempt to create letters on a one stud grid when all I had were 2x4 bricks was a tad ambitious!

LEGO Falls and Creative Lab

The library showcases a number of LEGO publications, including most of the Dorling Kindersley books and single issues of various magazines (including Blocks, Bricks and Bricks Culture).

Yellow - Flower Artist, Critter Creator and Fish Designer

The last main zone moves into the natural world, starting with Flower Artist, once again allowing visitors to create their own flowers from a huge selection of elements and display them for others to see alongside the static builds. Around the walls are more displays animal MOCs - again some familiar, others new to me. As with many of the build zones, you can capture your builds to your wristband.

Flowers and Animals

The Critter Creator has a couple of fun build areas - one to make some dancing bugs (once you've built them, you pop them in a dance zone that then vibrates as the music drums through it) and some racing bugs that have either a fairly easy run down, or have to avoid a couple of dangerous snakes on the way to safety!

The Fish Designer builds on the LEGO Life of George concept of creating a "flat" creation from your bricks before scanning it in and releasing it into the aquarium with all the other creations. The scanning is fairly robust, and is activated by touching your band to the controller so again you have a memento of your build, before you add it to the display wall.

I felt jellyfish were underrepresented in the aquarium

  • Did you get a picture of the library? I'm really pleased they decided to include it. – Ambo100 Sep 23 '17 at 19:48
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    Sorry, no didn't picture that. It was a fairly small set of shelves and some book boxes! – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Sep 23 '17 at 19:50
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5. Parting Gift and The LEGO House App

Back up on the ground floor and you make your way past the Tree of Creativity and a wall displaying just some of the over 900 million combinations of 6 red 2x4 bricks, and through to the exit.

Here you can see an injection moulding machine making red 2x4 bricks, along with an entire process that cools, counts and bags them up ready and waiting for you as you leave. On checking-out (again with your wristband) you're presented with your own card printed with one of the combinations you can build along with a code required to unlock your memories in the App.

LEGO Bricks being made

Throughout the house there are a number of interactive displays that you can start to use once you've activated them with the RFID part of your wristband - on them you can find out about the different zones, and also see the various memories you've saved to your wristband, including the movies and pictures, as well as the "achievements" from Robo Labs. The App (available for iOS and Android) as well as providing a diverting little "find the home for the mini-figs" game also allows you to register your trip and download the memories to your device. To register your trip you need any two IDs from your ticket, your wristband and your 6 Bricks card - which should keep things fairly secure.

Memories from the day

The touchscreen apps are written in Unity, running on PCs for those that are interested. There were a few minor issues I had with the tech - the machine my brick-self application was running on threw a "low on memory" error and shut the app down - the team were apologetic, but glad it wasn't explicitly their app that was at fault, and did try and see if the session was saved. I'd also downloaded the Android version of the app the day before our visit and was initially only able to save my video, but I updated it to the latest version (released the night before) and was able to store my images as well. I think it would be nice to be able to view them "in app" as well as store them, but realise that most people would want to download and back up their images.

  • "The touchscreen apps are written in Unity, running on PCs for those that are interested." I am really glad you brought this up actually, I was also curious. Hopefully everything will be working by opening day, – Ambo100 Sep 23 '17 at 19:46
  • I love the mini LEGO factory, that looks like it was a lot of fun. – Ambo100 Sep 23 '17 at 19:47
  • I only found out when I broke it and a couple of nervous helpers came over to see what I had done! – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Sep 23 '17 at 19:47
  • Yep, there should be a video in the shared album as well. – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Sep 23 '17 at 19:48
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1. Welcome and Lobby

As you enter The LEGO House you are directed towards the wristband dispensers to generate your personalised RFID wristband, peruse the shop (although you may want to leave that till later!) and grab a coffee from Brickaccino. You can also access the forum - a raked seating theatre space for presentations with seating for about 200 people and pass the Koi pond to take the lift one of the public terraces on the roofs of the building.

Lobby Area

Through-out this space there are a number of LEGO installations, ranging from the fun (a dog using a signpost) through to the impressive lenticular picture made from cheese slopes.

Lobby Builds

Lenticular poster

LEGO Shop

The shop is also accessible from the public space, so no need to pay to access that or the restaurants. The shop is well stocked with a wide range of LEGO sets, ranging from the common sets that are selling well, through the "hard to find" sets that are usually only in LEGO Stores and some specialist retailers, to the "LEGO Exclusives", including the new LEGO House architecture set that's only available here at the house.

Prices are on a par with the LEGO stores at home (exchange rates not withstanding) with the new house retailing at 449DKK. Other exclusives included some "mini-aquarium" sets, and they also had a "LEGO Portrait" machine, where you sit in a photo-booth choose the best of three photos and receive a set containing a yellow base-plate and grey-scale 1x1 tiles to make your own portrait mosaic!

Unlike some of the parks where the stores are 3rd party, this store is run by TLG, and so your VIP cards are accepted (indeed I managed to forget mine but they found me on the system and added my purchases for me!).

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    Is the LEGO shop treated like the standard LEGO stores, most importantly, can you use your VIP card there? – Ambo100 Sep 23 '17 at 19:33
  • Good catch, this should probably be on the main site ;) – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Sep 23 '17 at 19:34
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    Update with the fact that yes, you can use your VIP cards. – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Sep 23 '17 at 19:37
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2. Tree of Creativity and Masterpiece Gallery

After the introduction, it was time to explore the main part of the House - starting with a climb around the Tree of Creativity. This is a massive LEGO build, full of details, from the various carvings in the bark trunk to the wonderful dioramas in the canopy - many of the main LEGO themes are represented, including City, Space, Castle and Friends.

Tree of Creativity

The Masterpiece Gallery is currently dominated by three massive Tyrannosaurus Rex models, each built from one of the three core products: DUPLO, System and Technic - and they all look amazing!

Three dinosaurs in the Masterpiece Gallery

Around the walls of the gallery are displays of many MOCs from the AFOL community - and like any good gallery they plan to rotate these exhibitions to showcase the latest and greatest works - there were many classic models here, along with a number I'd not seen before. It would have been nice to see some of the LEGO photographers on display as well, but maybe that's a plan for later.

Just some of the creations that took my fancy

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4. The History Collection and LEGO Cinema

Back downstairs from the Experience Zones and down into the basement you'll come to The History Collection and LEGO Cinema. For us the cinema was showcasing LEGO adverts from history. The History collection starts with a museum telling the history of The LEGO Group, with examples of the toys and sets it has created over the years, starting with the wooden toys, and telling the stories of the first Plastic injection moulding machine the company bought and the move towards toys with a theme that led to the original "LEGO Play System" town planning sets - combining early LEGO bricks with some pre-made vehicles in sets. It then moves into the "modern" era, focusing on the many sets LEGO has produced and not pulling any punches when it comes to some of the decisions that the company made over the years, finally coming back to it's current core values and principles that seem to be holding it steady with it's more focused element inventory.

At the heart of the museum is the collection itself - a room with a number of iconic and classic sets arranged in historical order and covering every theme and style. There's also an interactive table where you can scroll through a list of all the sets ever produced, including looking inside some of them, and add the ones you own to a virtual shelf that is then tagged to your wristband.

The Classic LEGO Castle, trains and history

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