Young architects put imagination to work on mall skyline - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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Young architects put imagination to work on mall skyline

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Posted: Monday, August 15, 2011 4:15 pm

Scores of Northwest Valley children descended upon the Arrowhead Towne Center this weekend to create a giant-sized city skyline and, in the process, become city planners — with Legos.

Blueprints, drafting pencils, rulers and compasses weren’t necessary for the exercise, just a love of stacking Legos together to create houses, towers, buildings — anything the adolescent builders chose to incorporate into the skyline’s design.

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Lego Store on Saturday and Sunday, child and teen builders could grab stacks of red Legos inside bins set up on about a half-dozen tables near the Dick’s Sporting Goods Court to help create the finished product.

Along with the help of some friends, Surprise residents Max and Mia Allen created walls and other exterior components to form a house. Max’s love of Legos began at a young age and snowballed recently with the creation of a Lego club at Imagine Rosefield in Surprise.

The 9-year-old said there are about 15 kids in the Lego club, which was formed last year. All share a love of building elaborate designs and competing in building challenges with one another.

Asked what he loves about Legos the most, Max said: “You can build whatever you want. It’s just up to your imagination.”

During the two-day event, Lego Store employees conducted building competitions and offered free giveaways and raffles. All participants received a free Lego certificate of achievement.

Dan Fritsche, Lego Store assistant manager, said this weekend’s undertaking was the first “free-build” event, where participants were able to build whatever designs they wanted.

An estimated 50,000 Lego pieces were shipped in for the two-day event, and Fritsche anticipated all of them would be used to build the city skyline.

Last year, hundreds of people helped create an 8-foot-tall Yoda – more than 100,000 Legos were used – by forming bricks that would help master-builders form the Star Wars character.

Glendale resident Robert Moore helped create a staircase and said building it “takes a lot of skill.” The 7-year-old said he loves to create elaborate designs with his friends, especially houses, elevators and staircases.

“I’ve built a whole city at home,” Robert said.

Riley and Nicholas Israels built a tower together Saturday afternoon. Riley said their creation evolved into “a tower symbolizing Lego” as the brothers were able to spell out L-E-G-O in their design work.

“This is such a cool event,” Riley said.

Zach Colick can be reached at 623-876-2522 or

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