Browsing Alfred Speredelozzi’s collection of LEGO structures pulls the viewer into a multifaceted space-time landscape: scale recreations of historic architecture, painstakingly detailed spacecrafts, and even pixel-perfect reproductions of icons from popular culture. His latest project, the Bricksburg Technological University series, recreates personally significant university buildings on a LEGO scale.
Speredelozzi, whose early creations were greatly influenced by the Star Wars films and accompanying LEGO sets, was inspired to create LEGO buildings as a member of Michigan’s LEGO club, MichLUG. The group’s popular building themes included model railroads and architecture, which were largely unexplored in the larger LEGO community.
“I was drawn more to buildings,” Speredelozzi said. “I decided to adopt that as my theme.”
He began with the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy building – where he spent a lot of time while earning a degree in aeronautical engineering. The model replicates the building, down to the tiny porch columns and tendrils of ivy creeping up its western wall. His second project honored his wife, Valerie’s, alma mater, Georgia Institute of Technology, and its Tech Tower, a sprawling brick building with numerous windows and rooftops. Speredelozzi even included a well-known Georgia Tech student prank, and added LEGO students stealing the “T” from the tower’s rooftop sign.
Next, Speredelozzi, manager of the Engineering Computer Center at the University of Rhode Island, will tackle the university’s historic Green Hall. Constructed in 1937, Green Hall served as the university’s first library and now houses the offices of President David M. Dooley and Enrollment Services.
Speredelozzi displays his work at Brickfair, and shows organized by the New England LEGO Users Group. As a member of the New England group, he helped build a LEGO version of a Victorian home in Manchester, N.H. for the Manchester Historical Society.
Working with so many tiny parts and multiple projects requires design flexibility and fastidious organization. For Speredelozzi, technology is the solution. Using CAD, LEGO Digital Designer, and other software, Speredelozzi first creates digital models of his work that later serve as the blueprints for construction. “Typically, my models are in the 10,000 part range,” Speredelozzi said. “Building digitally is how I keep one project separate from another.”
Once he has gathered the many required parts for any given project (a process that can take several weeks of ordering online and waiting), construction typically takes “a couple of days.”
When he isn’t building, Speredelozzi is a volunteer for the FIRST LEGO League of Rhode Island, which organizes teams of 9- to 16-year-olds who compete in robotics building and demonstration competitions in the state and nationally. The non-profit and its teams foster student interest in science and technology.
His advice to builders of all ages: “Dump everything together and see how the parts speak to you. Oh, and don’t worry about the color of the bricks until you are happy with the shape of the model. You can fix the color later.”
What’s on Speredelozzi’s design agenda after Green Hall? “I have dreams of making a studio where I can build freely,” he said. “In the back of my head there are always two or three spaceships that want to come out.” ￼