Construction Toys: The Building Blocks of Design Culture

A recent book explores the ways in which the world's ubiquitous construction toys - Lincoln Logs, Legos, Meccano, etc. - have impacted budding architects, and proposes a connection between building for play and building for pay.

"The toys we buy our children allow them to build worlds of their own, limited only by the often strange visual vocabulary of their construction sets – but do they influence the worlds we build ourselves in later life?" asks Edwin Heathcote. "How are architecture, engineering and design influenced by the toys we played with as children? And is the increasing ubiquity of digital (as opposed to physical) play going radically to alter the way we conceive and build in the future?"

"The questions are raised in a recent book, Architecture on the Carpet: The Curious Tale of Construction Toys and the Genesis of Modern Buildings (Thames & Hudson, to be published in the US next month) by Robert and Brenda Vale. Their thesis is that construction toys provide a mirror for the real world of architecture, reflecting subtle shifts in thinking and building. But more than that, they suggest that particular types of toys may have influenced the way individual architects build."

Full Story: Toytown and the city

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