Children Learn Wright Lessons Through Legos
March 3, 2015
by Dan Dorfman|Pioneer Press
In the age of smartphones, tablets and other electronic equipment, there is still a place for Legos, which first appeared on the market in 1949. On March 1, a collection of children and teenagers used the plastic construction toys as a way to pay homage to a main figure in architecture history.
Glencoe’s Takiff Center’s Community Room was packed with approximately 100 children assigned with the task of assembling Legos with the goal of creating a replica of a waiting station designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It was part of a 100th anniversary celebration taking place this year, as the Glencoe Historical Society is hosting a series of events to honor Wright, who designed the village’s Ravine Bluffs subdivision in 1915.
Adam Reed Tucker, who says he is one of only 12 people in the world to earn the designation of Lego certified professional, led the class. Tucker, whose certification lists him as a master builder of Lego products, said he wanted the group to learn building lessons and about the historical significance of Wright. Organizers said the event is an especially important endeavor in Glencoe, which has the third largest concentration of Wright designed structures in the world.
“We need to pass the torch, but I don’t want to do that with textbooks,” Tucker said. Among those listening to Tucker was Glencoe resident Andrea Kamen, who brought her son 11-year-old son, Marcus. “He’s obsessed with Legos and right now we are doing one with ‘Star Wars’ and we are doing one with a London bridge,” Kamen said. “I think it is important to learn about Frank Lloyd Wright; it is an important part of Glencoe.”
Also participating was Adam Bandari of Glencoe, with his son, Kai. “He likes architecture and building Legos,” Bandari noted. “This is a good way to get him away from sports and get interested in something else.”
Finally, there was Australian-born Greg Turner, who now lives in the village. He was at the Takiff Center with his son Connor and daughter Elsie. “We came to support the Glencoe Historical Society, combined with architectural interest of the Lego design and the Frank Lloyd Wright centennial in Glencoe,” Turner noted. “I hope they learn about the historical importance of Wright in Glencoe through building and having fun.”
Before the kids could use the Legos, kits had to be prepared containing all the necessary material. Specifically, there were 100 kits – one for each of the builders, each containing 143 individual pieces. That is where Karen Ettelson, president of the Historical Society, came in, as she was one of eight volunteers who spent five hours Saturday custom-making the kits.
Ettelson said it was worth the effort, as the Historical Society is seeking to raise $250,000 to build a re-creation of the waiting station in the Ravine Bluffs subdivision, as well as developing an adjoining park. The original waiting station was razed in the 1950s, when the North Shore Electric Line ceased to exist.
“If we are successful,” Ettelson said. “The kids who are here today will learn who built the station and will have a replica of the station we hope to build.”
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