Art meets real life in homage to Lyons’ inspiration.
By Chris Jarvis, Texas A&M University College of Science
Like many people, Luke Lyons ’08 began collecting and playing with LEGOs as a child. The only difference is, he never stopped.
In between building and balancing the workload of his doctoral studies into a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in science education at Texas A&M University, Lyons meticulously assembles the colorful plastic bricks into elaborate structures. His handiwork ranges from motorized models to intricate cityscapes populated with tiny LEGO people, and he scours the Internet for rare, hard-to-find pieces just to make his next project that much more realistic.
For enthusiasts like Lyons, a 2008 Texas A&M biology graduate, the classic childhood toy known the world over transcends the usual fun and games. It’s an artistic escape.
“LEGO gives me a chance to tap into my artistic creativity that I maybe don’t get with hours and hours of studying every day,” Lyons said. “The joy of LEGO is the ability to make or invent anything you want.”
Given that the only other hat Lyons wears as proudly as LEGO aficionado is that of die-hard Aggie, it was inevitable that his two worlds eventually would meet. Lyons’ most recent creation, which he considers to be his greatest yet, is a replica of what some consider to be the crown jewel of Texas A&M’s 5,200-plus-acre campus – the 103-year-old Academic Building. The idea for the LEGO structure began during his daily treks past the iconic structure and developed to the point that Lyons said he could almost visualize its beaux-arts style architecture in LEGO form.
Honoring a campus crown jewel
It took Lyons nearly two years to conceptualize, design and construct the 3,000-piece reproduction, right down to the recognizable oxidized copper dome.
“I thought about what was the most familiar building on campus, the one that most Aggies visualize when they think of Texas A&M,” Lyons said. “For me, it’s always been the Academic Building. I didn’t even know if it would be possible to build, but I wanted to give it an attempt.”
Now he’s gaining support to have it made into an official LEGO set. Lyons submitted his version of the Academic Building to the LEGO Ideas website, and if his proposal garners 10,000 votes, it will be evaluated by the LEGO Review Board, which will then select certain entries for mass production.
Currently, Lyons’ Academic Building concept is the campaign’s most popular design with 2,000 votes. However, the worldwide backing isn’t exclusively from Aggies. One person from the Netherlands commented on the beauty of the building, which Lyons called nothing short of “incredible.”
In the event his Academic Building isn’t selected to become a set, Lyons said he’s mulling a backup plan to somehow make available a detailed set of instructions and parts list for those who want to build their own.