I want my Habitat 67 LEGO blocks – what about you?
You’ve probably heard the news: Habitat 67, which some are calling a "quirky Montreal landmark", is pummeling the competition in an online poll by the international authority on all that’s building block related: LEGO. The Danish company wants to find out which great world landmark it should manufacture next as part of its 2013 architecture series.
Recognizable Montreal landmarks that aren't so LEGO-able: Biosphère, Olympic Stadium and Calder's Man statue
The Habitat 67 complex may not be the first architectural model that springs to mind when you think of Montreal landmarks, but it’s certainly better suited to be scaled down into ready-to-assemble LEGO bits than the Biosphere (too intricate and web-like), Calder’s Man statue (way too easy to build, unless you’re targeting the 0-to-6-month demo or those who're coming off a weekend of relentless clubbing), the Saint Joseph’s Oratory (not secular enough) or the Olympic Stadium, unless you take into account its minor structural flaw of sporadic roof collapses, which LEGO could capitalize on to produce non-water resistant, easily breakable plastic parts?
Habitat 67 is an eco-pioneering residential complex conceived by Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie back in the ‘60s as part of the city's massive wave of innovative architectural endeavours leading up to Expo 67. (It was originally a pavilion for the World Fair.) Located near the Saint-Laurent river, its gutsy design of interlocking modules stacked up like, well, building blocks – 354 identical, prefabricated concrete modules, to be specific – was clearly ahead of its time. Safdie wanted to bring certain perks considered exclusive to suburban homes – privacy, rooftop gardens, family-friendly units spanning multiple floors, lots of natural daylight – to an urban apartment setting.
Montreal won big (read: dark blue) in Monopoly's international online poll back in 2008
A repeat performance of 2008 Monopoly poll?
The complex design would make for hours of uninterrupted playtime. And so far, Montreal pride has paid off in a big way. With its 130 000 votes, Habitat 67 is well ahead of Rome's Coliseum and the U.S. Capitol, its two closest rivals. LEGO's online vote has sparked the same widespread interest as a 2008 Monopoly poll to determine which cities should secure coveted spots on the board game's World Edition. Needless to say, Montrealers and 514 lovers from all over made sure the city snagged the most expensive property – the dark blue opulence of Boardwalk.
Since 2008, the ubiquitous Danish toymaker has immortalized a number of international landmarks as part of its architecture series: the Rockefeller Centre and White House, Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum, the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Robie House in Chicago and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa tower. While LEGO has said that a win doesn't guarantee that the landmark in question would be immortalized into a colourful plastic puzzle, the company is obviously interested in gauging public passions (they also have very shrewd marketing people working ingeniously to keep advertising costs to a minimum.)
Lego hasn’t specified when voting will end, so head over to the website while you still can. Let’s give Gérald Tremblay some frivolous ammunition to bolster his next municipal campaign. Or at the very least, a fun construction game to play once his calendar frees up in 2013…