LEGO builder recreates B.C. project brick by brick

QuadReal’s full scale version of the project, The Post, won’t be ready until next year.

Graeme Dymond places a LEGO brick.

LEGO certified professional Graeme Dymond puts the finishing touches on his version of The Post. – Graeme Dymond

Key Takeaways:

  • A professional LEGO builder recreated The Post, a project by developer QuadReal.
  • From planning to the final brick took roughly 130 hours.
  • The model is also populated by dozens of tiny LEGO people.

The Whole Story:

QuadReal’s heritage building makeover project in Vancouver, The Post, has been completed – well, the LEGO version at least. 

Graeme Dymond, one of only a handful of people worldwide who hold the title of LEGO certified professional, used his skills to craft a LEGO replica of the Vancouver project. Planning and building time included, it took Dymond roughly 130 hours to complete the project. QuadReal’s actual The Post project is expected to open in 2023 with Amazon as the anchor tenant. 

“When looking at the history of this building, it looked like this giant concrete bunker,” said Dymond. “When they showed me what they wanted to do I was impressed because they were totally opening up this forbidden slab of concrete and transforming it into this spacious facility.”

The Post occupies a full city block and was once the main regional processing facility for Canada Post—a historical landmark and an important example of Vancouver’s mid-century architecture.

The design leverages the building’s existing central podium and welded-steel frame, creating large floorplates that can accommodate open-concept floorplans, ideal for tech companies. Set atop this structure, two new office towers, rising to 21 and 22 storeys, modernize the property and offer flexibility for a variety of businesses.

The team engaged heritage conservators to retain and restore many of the building’s distinctive elements. These include the blue and terracotta tile façade, the relief sculpture of a postal worker and coats of arms, as well as original artwork and etched windows.

On track to achieve LEED Gold Certification, The Post’s building systems will leverage waste heat recovery, passive solar shading, light shelves that reflect daylight into the interior and an energy-efficient building envelope. The adaptive reuse of the structure results in a savings of approximately 25,000 tonnes of carbon and diverts significant construction waste from local landfills.

The Toronto-based LEGO builder used renderings and images of the project to approximate his plans, ordered his materials and then flew to Vancouver to begin the process. He was able to meet with the project team and even walk through the construction site to get a better idea of the space and scale. 

“I actually got to go into the building with PPE, walk through the halls and really get every possible angle because the rendering only shows so much,” said Dymond. “You don’t really get a good feel for how it will look in three dimensions.”

The process also take a creative eye that can translate a structure into the language of LEGO bricks and make changes on the fly. 

“There’s a lot of transformation that happens when you are building,” said Dymond. “A LEGO model is a caricature of a building and not just a one-to-one replica. You want it to feel more playful and whimsical but still decode as the actual building itself.”

‘Workers’ enjoy a break at a LEGO-sized version of QuadReal’s The Post project which will soon be home to Amazon. – Graeme Dymond

It was also important for the piece to tell a story and feel alive, so Dymond populated the structure with dozens of LEGO people.

“Emphasizing the ears where those people are living and playing was crucial for it to feel right and ring true,” said Dymond. 

The hardest part of the project and of many projects was laying down the foundation which sets the footprint for the rest of the build. 

“Anything you do after that has to fit that size and scale,” he said. 

Dymond first began honing his skills as a kid using DUPLOs, which are larger LEGO bricks. He never stopped playing even after many of his friends moved on to other things during high school. 

“I just didn’t see a need to stop,” said Dymond. “It’s something I enjoy so I was going to stick with it.”

He went on to become Canada’s first LEGO master builder for LEGOLAND. While many can become technically proficient and LEGO building, Dymond believes it was his eye storytelling techniques that truly set him apart from the others. 

“Just like The Post has this narrative of becoming a community hub, incorporating sustainability and preserving heritage, thinking about the narrative of each project has always been a trademark of my success as a LEGO builder,” said Dymond.

the LEGO version of The Post sits in the shadow of the real project in downtown Vancouver. – Graeme Dymond


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