Mike Doyle, a New York-based artist whose fascination with texture and decay might only be rivaled by his patience for mind-numbing minutia, has just constructed a 5½-foot-tall model of a run-down Victorian mansion made entirely of Lego blocks. (A tip of the hat to Curbed for leading us down the rabbit hole.)
Entitled "Victorian on Mud Heap," this meticulously designed fantasy home is the third in his series of Victorians, and took Doyle nearly 600 hours to create and approximately 130,000 Legos to build.
(See the gallery below for more photos.)
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Artist Constructs Victorian House of Legos
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Call him the ultimate weekend warrior. When he's not wearing the hat of design director at a high-powered New York marketing firm, he's devising new ways to up the ante in Lego sculpture.
"It's simply the embellishment and the ability [of the Victorian style] to show off the decay best, which is what I'm most interested in," Doyle told AOL Real Estate.
From start to finish, the process took him just under eight months of late nights and busy weekends to complete.
"It can sort of get out of control," he says with a laugh.
While he has always been interested in graphic design and the fine arts, it wasn't until he took his son and nephews to a Legoland convention a year and a half ago that he discovered the "My Own Creation" (or MOC) community of adult Lego sculptors.
Now it's become a family affair. His favorite detail in his latest decrepit masterwork, he says, is a tiny lamp near the doorway that his 9-year-old son built. Even the 5-year-old gets involved, but most of his contributions aren't quite ready for primetime, the father of two says.
For his next project, Doyle says that he wants to explore his fascination with slum buildings, particularly in developing nations. "You can't quite tell if they're old or new," he says, which gives them a timeless quality.
Readers can check out Doyle's other works on his personal blog or Flickr page. There's even a 3D image of the spooky Victorian pictured above. Eat your heart out, Tim Burton.
CORRECTION: Doyle's model of the Victorian house was previously described as 3½ feet tall. It's actually 5½ feet tall.
With Hurricane Irene bearing down on the Eastern Seaboard, homeowners are battening down the hatches from North Carolina to New York this weekend. But if you lived in one of the uniquely sturdy homes on our list, Irene might pack a less powerful punch. From semi-subterranean shelters to conch-shaped fortresses, hippie dirt mounds to high-art domes, we explore some of the coolest places to weather a storm.
Advertised as "off-the-grid," this 3,140-square-foot home just outside of Taos, N.M is listed for $495,000. It has a spacious living room, fireplace and half-bath, kitchen dining area, patio and deck, and is powered by solar panels and a wind turbine.
The bedroom, encased in concrete and wood is surrounded by "mature" trees -- you know, like the kind you can have deep conversations with. Also on the patio awaits an appliance which may come as a surprise: a barbecue. Who's up for some grilled arugula!?
See homes in Taos, N.M.
The center of the home hosts its green nuts and bolts: There, a giant cistern stores the home's H20 next to an interior waterfall and the solar battery apparatus.
These renderings sketch the designs of "eco-cottages," green homes that nestle into hills that will dot the perimeter of Frank Lloyd Wright's famous waterfall-straddling home known as "Fallingwater." The innovative homes were selected through a design competition, according to inhabitat.com.
The jury that selected the home reportedly stated: "In its subtlety, it is provocative and it carries forward the discourse about where architecture can move." Construction of the cottages is still in the fund-raising phase.
Tardigrade House is modeled after "the world's most indestructible living creature -- the Tardigrade," according to the designer's website. Don't know what a Tardigrade is? Neither did we. According to Webster's, it's a category of microscopic animal that comprises the water bears. The partially buried home constructed of styrofoam and cement is internationally "touted as the world's safest house," the designer's website proclaims.
The concrete foundation sits over a series of perforated drainpipes that carry away floods. While it may have the hardiness of something microscopic, the place actually turns out to be quite spacious: The three-story home contains three bedrooms and bathrooms.
Rock-solid homes don't always come cheap. This dome complex in Brainerd, Minn. costs $1.5 million. Financed by the Water Foundation. Polystyrene insulation under the concrete creates a "thermal envelope" that wraps around the structure.
Nifty windows flood the wood interior with natural light. The home includes the "Biological Composting Toilet System" that the home's designer, Natural Spaces Domes, estimates has saved Minnesotans 900,000 gallons of water.
Located in the sleepy Swiss village of Vals, this high-concept vacation home is literally built into the pastoral scenery. The brainchild of architectural firms SeARCH and Christian Muller Architects, the home was designed to "strengthen the surrounding landscape" -- not dominate it.
The Villa Vals booking site, which offers the home to visitors for 3,500 euros ($5,061) per week during peak season, notes that the interior is filled with furnishings by some of the most cutting-edge Dutch designers.
OK, we can't in good faith suggest that people seek shelter from hurricane force winds in this glass and steel cube -- but what a way to spend a rainy night in! From ground level, only the sleek cubic shell is visible. But for those invited in, the basement level pool is sure to please. Located in a wooded area in Long Island, N.Y., the 4,500 square-foot Sagaponic House is perfect for outdoorsy revelers.