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Inspiring vision

Happy Hour Design Studio: Imagining America in LEGO®

Friends and colleagues exercise their imaginations—and design thinking—while working and playing together at BSA Space’s Happy Hour Design Studios.

Every few months, BSA Space hosts Happy Hour Design Studio: LEGO® Challenge, a chance for grown-ups to dig into bins of the toy bricks and build creations like they did when they were kids, using prompts from a trained architect as inspiration. LEGO® builders included local designers, contractors, and even dental students.

The February prompts had designers thinking on all scales—from the individual person to complexes of cooperative living. Each participant began by creating their idea of an American citizen out of LEGO® bricks (no cheating and using the ready-made figures allowed). After presenting their Americans, people passed their creations to the person on their left, to undertake the next prompt: create a piece of home furniture for the population. Following the furniture round, the pieces were passed again, and the challenge was to create a space that would accommodate the imagined people and furniture. The final stage built off of the previous three, and brought people’s heads—and LEGO®—together. The teams at each table worked to combine their separate spaces into a single development for living.

BSA Space was full of a variety of living options—many of which ended up being guarded communities with green features, interestingly. Development names ranged from throwbacks to different decades (like the Manson Family Ranch) to pop culture nods (Sudden Valley and This Alternative Life) to the more straightforward (LEGOasis). The different spaces created by individuals came together surprisingly nicely into unique places that accounted for people’s everyday needs and desired lifestyles. Some features of note: a research lab (complete with monkey as research assistant) to study space; multiple helipads; raised buildings to account for sea-level rise; multiple greenhouses; and a wind-powered jacuzzi.

February’s LEGO® Challenge drew one of the largest Happy Hour Design Studio crowds yet, with people coming solo, as couples, in groups of friends, and with colleagues after work. No matter how they came, everyone left having made connections—between the blocks, between their teammates, and between ideas of designing for wants and designing for needs.

View images below. 

Photos courtesy of Caitlin Hart.


To learn more about how the BSA Foundation is making an impact in communities, please come to BSA Space for a one hour “tour” of BSA Foundation programs. Meet with Foundation leaders and volunteers to learn broadly about the Foundation’s work and its impact. Foundation Conversation meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month. Events are free, but seats are limited. Check for upcoming dates and to reserve your seat.