After building models of the William S. Cohen School, the Bangor Opera House and Bangor City Hall, Bangor High School sophomore Beckett Mundell-Wood decided that 2020 would be the year he took on his biggest project of all: designing and building a scale model of the Bangor Public Library, entirely out of Lego bricks.
But this model is not a typical Lego creation.
The finished product is composed of a total of 17,833 Lego bricks, and is at a 1:48 scale. It weighs 58.2 pounds, and is just over five feet long. The total cost of the project ended up being around $3,500. Mundell-Wood had to order 42 different kinds of specialty Lego bricks from suppliers from all over the world, including from Lego headquarters in Denmark.
The Bangor Public Library intends to display the model once the building reopens to the public.
Mundell-Wood said the hardest part of the design was building each roof section, each of which is very different and required a hammer and pliers in some cases. But the most fun part was constructing the atrium, both the exterior and interior.
“I haven’t done interiors on any of my previous models, so it was a fun new experience,” said Mundell-Wood, 15. “I tried to keep it accurate to the real thing, with all the tables, chairs and the cafe, while also adding some finishing touches like newspaper and a vending machine.”
Mundell-Wood’s parents, Clare Mundell and Bill Wood, had helped their son fund his Lego model projects before, but the library project was many times larger than anything he’d attempted previously.
“We had told him that if he wanted to do this massive project he would have to either make some money shoveling snow or mowing lawns, or apply for a grant,” said Mundell. “He chose the latter.”
Mundell-Wood applied for and received a grant from the city of Bangor’s Commission on Cultural Development, in the amount of $750. He also received donations from local architectural firm Scott Simons Associates and photographer Jeff Kirlin.
Mundell-Wood’s design process starts with taking lots of photos from multiple angles of the building. He does some math equations to scale it down, and then inputs that data into a program called Lego Digital Designer, which comes up with, essentially, a blueprint.
In total, the library model took him about 13 months, most of which was consumed by design and by sourcing bricks, though there were stretches in that year where Mundell-Wood didn’t work on it due to school and family obligations. Design work resumed in earnest when the pandemic struck and Bangor High School began remote instruction, and the final construction took place over the course of about a month, beginning June 10.
Ben Treat, executive director of the library, said Mundell-Wood came by months ago to not only take his own photos, but to take photos with a drone in order to get the roof details correct.
“He really did his research. He got someone with a drone aircraft to take aerial photos and spoke with the architects responsible for the most recent renovation design,” said Treat. “The energy and vibrancy of the library can be felt in the detail of the atrium, but he also manages to capture the enduring grandeur and grace of the building.”
Mundell-Wood last year started a business with fellow Bangor High School sophomore Cuddy Steadman called Bangor Brick Builds. For a fee, the pair will design and build a custom Lego model of any structure or building the client wants. They have already completed two commissions and are working on a third.