Ryan McNaught has been a certified LEGO professional — one of 14 in the world — for about 15 years. He’s got five traveling exhibits in various museums — his original, Towers of Tomorrow is made of 20 skyscrapers and is at Discovery Place Science from now until Sept. 2.
I went on Friday morning, and it was awesome. Ryan, who’s from Australia, replicated 20 skyscrapers from all over the world for this exhibit, and each one is made to scale.
“This is the cheap way to travel around the world,” he told me. He also told that he started this project 5-7 years ago, and at the time, not all buildings were complete, so he had to talk to the architects to discuss final plans.
“Most architects love LEGOs by nature, they grew up loving to create with them, so most of them said ‘hell yeah, let’s build this out of LEGOs,'” Ryan said.
Kristen Swing from Discovery Place Science said this exhibit is something adults can definitely get excited about too. She said the museum is hoping to inspire children and adults “to think about what the next generation of buildings will look like.”
“Towers of Tomorrow is an accessible way for children and adults alike to better understand architecture, construction, world culture, innovation and so much more,” she said.
About the exhibit: The exhibit is made from more than half a million LEGOs, and it took Ryan more than 2,400 hours to finish it all. And although he won’t be there to describe each building, there are fun facts and other information posted beside each skyscraper, which are made by scale at the ratio of 1:200 — you get to see how the world’s tallest building stack up next one another which is a cool perspective.
There are also 200,000 loose LEGOs so you can create something on your own, and you can put your creation on the middle display tables so everyone can see.
The buildings: Skyscrapers included in Towers of Tomorrow are the CN Tower in Toronto; The Empire State Building and Chrysler Building in New York; Philidelphia’s Comcast Technology Center; Los Angeles’ Wilshire Grand Center; Chicago’s Wilis Tower; Atlanta’s Bank of America Plaza (Ryan apologized for this one); Taiwan’s Taipei 101; Japan’s Tokyo Skytree; Kuala Lumpur’s twin Petronas Towers; Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands; China’s Shanghai Tower; Barangaroo Hotel Crown Resort in Sydney; Melbourne’s Eureka Tower; Infinity Tower in Brisbane; and the Gold Coast’s Q1 building.
How Ryan got started: When the iPad came out, Ryan used it and tried hacking into LEGOs system so he could create something from LEGOs using his iPad. He got a cease and desist at first, but then LEGO decided that type of innovation would be worth investing in. So Ryan became a professional LEGO builder, one of 14 in the world.
Prices: A full day of exhibit + museum access is $22 for adults; $18 for kids; and $20 for seniors. IMAX is $4 more per person.
Address: Discovery Place Science, 301 N. Tryon St. The parking deck entrance is at the corner of Sixth and Church Streets (plug 220 W 6th St, Charlotte, NC 28202 in your GPS).