Here is Small Brick City’s custom LEGO city layout that spans a total of 4 levels of vertical space within a relatively small area space of 180cm x 63.5cm / 72″ x 25″.
Each level represents a specific cross section of the town. While they are not physically linked, they are connected in concept, relative position and imagination. So, each cross-section is part of the same city.
Seen in its entirety, the multi-level display represents a logical overview of a large town; relative to the small area space it takes up.
It consists of approximately 62,000+ pieces with a total of over 50 sets/ MOCs and more than 150 MiniFigs.
Most of the sets displayed are official LEGO sets but have been modified in one way or another, some more drastically than others. There are also a significant number of MOCs (my own creation) and custom builds.
The city took 6 months to plan and 2 months to build.
My LEGO city, “Brick Beach”, that spans 4 levels in a 6ft x 2ft area space.
The concept of my city is simple. Named “Brick Beach”, it is a small sleepy European-style old beach town that was redeveloped into a tourist town.
My goal was to build a realistic city from the start. The official LEGO modular buildings were my starting point, which is why I chose a European-style town.
I wanted to include a beach as I wanted a variety of landscapes in my city. I did not just want a city with roads and buildings as it would feel too one-dimensional and I also do not have the space for road plates and vehicles.
I decided to make the town a tourist town built around the beach. However, I developed the backstory of the town to expand on its economy as well as geographical and historical background. Small Brick City co-founder, Annie Go, christened the town “Brick Beach”.
In my backstory, Brick Beach is located about 20 kilometres from a large unseen metropolitan city and is built on a gradual mountain side.
Like any small city or town, Brick Beach consists of different areas. There is a main street, beach front, suburban area with its own small town centre and an undeveloped forested area higher up the mountain.
The buildings in Brick Beach’s town centres are older historical buildings that are protected under conservation laws. However, the suburban residential district features more modern houses.
Brick Beach’s economy is driven by its tourism industry which includes banking and medical tourism. It is a very popular destination for vacationing tourists including couples, families and college students. It is especially popular with the rich and famous who drop by frequently.
It is this backstory that provides a vision and acts as a guide for the city concept, layout and builds featured.
This is the primary display on my main table (counter). It represents a cross section of the Brick Beach town and features two levels. The top level is the main street and the lower town street includes the town square and beach front.
The main town square of “Brick Beach”. The town square park is centered with the “Town Hall” (10224) building above and behind it.
For good visibility and to add texture to the display, the entire main street is elevated. This also represents the gradual mountain terrain that the town is built on, as per my back story. The main street is elevated by risers made from wood and the exposed parts are (will be) covered with bricks.
In any city layout, a main unobstructed thoroughfare or road through the city helps to create an open flow through the city that gives “breathing” space and sense of openness.
The main street consists of an entire row of buildings (LEGO modular-sized) and the main road in front of it. One side of the main street contains mainly city buildings such as the renowned medical centre (MOC), fire station (“Fire Brigade” 10197) and Town Hall (10224) building.
The “Town Hall” has just one town office which deals with city permits, wedding registrations and rental of beach vacation chalets. The rest of the building houses a police station.
The other side of the main street is an entertainment lifestyle district that includes a collection of food & beverage outlets & shops, departmental stores, club and hotel (“Assembly Square” (10255), “Grand Emporium” (10211) and “Café Corner” (10182)).
This is a natural common segregation in any town or city where the government or business district is clustered together and separate from an entertainment district. All the buildings have custom detailed interiors.
Only official city vehicles such as the city bus from the main metropolitan city and city workers are allowed on the road. No private motor vehicles are allowed except for motorcycles, scooters and bicycles.
Lower Town Street
The lower level of the display features the town square and beach front, coupled with several other buildings.
The town square is a garden green with and a monument celebrating the town’s history. Asian influence and economic imperialism to the west is evident even in this small town as an Asian mall (“Ninjago City”) stands next to the Chinese-owned theatre (“Palace Cinema”) on one side of the town square. The city bank (“Brick Bank”) sits on the other side of the town square.
The main access point from the main street to the lower town street is located above the town square, in front of the town hall/ police station. One must imagine that the entire front of the lower town street leads to the beach/ sea.
This is also where the main street bus stop is located. On one side is a set of stairs leading to the town square and on the other side is a lift from the bus stop to the town square. This is mainly for wheelchair access and baby prams.
The building next to the bank is a high-end restaurant, the “Parisian Restaurant” (10243). Its mezzanine alfresco area overlooks the start of the recreational part of the Brick Beach beachfront and one must imagine that the beach runs far beyond this display (to the right).
The start of the recreational beach features sun decks, a water activities rental station, lifeguard and rock climbing wall.
The beach is filled with activity as any popular beach is. It includes a water activities rental station (“Beach Hut” (31035)), renting equipment such as jet skis, scuba gear and surf boards. It also operates an artificial rock climbing wall built into the cliffside.
There are also many beach vacation chalets that can be rented by tourists but only two are shown in this display. Each build has been modified and expanded from the original LEGO set to include a toilet and shower.
While the beach display is quite dense, it does represent a typical popular crowded tourist beach.
Like all the buildings in the main street, the interior of each building in the lower town street is detailed.
There are also different entertaining scenes of vignettes set-up throughout the city. My goal was to create an average of 2 scenes per 32-stud space.
This display represents a cross section of a different part of Brick Beach. This is on the outskirts of the Brick Beach main town and is geographically in-between the Brick Beach main town and the larger unseen metropolitan city further away.
Uptown comprises of three main sections; a suburb residential area, a small-town centre and an outskirt area that features a road bridge, train track running through it as well as a lake.
Part of the residential area is elevated for better visibility and to create dimension to the display. Like the main street in the primary display, this part of the display sits on custom wood risers and the exposed parts are (will be) covered with bricks.
The residential area features four houses. Actually, three are houses, while a fourth is a residential property that has been converted to a spa villa and yoga retreat that is built against the backdrop of a natural waterfall. A common park area has been created between the front and back row of houses. One needs to imagine that the residential area carries on beyond this display (on the left).
Residential district of Uptown comprising of houses and a spa villa & yoga retreat. Two houses are MOCs and one is the “Hillside House” (5771)
There is a set of steps that leads from the elevated common park to the pedestrian-only street of the small town centre. The back row of the town centre has a collection of shops and offices (“Pet Shop” apartment (10218), “Market Street” apartment (10190), “Green Grocer” (10185), “Mansard Row Apartment” MOC, “Detective’s Office (10246)).
The front row of shops has not been filled in yet and are ready to accept new sets that are released in future or MOCs that will be built. The space is temporary filled with “mini” buildings such as the “Corner Deli” (31050), “Toy & Grocery Store” (31036), “Bike Shop & Café” (31026) and “Park Street Townhouse” (31065). This sub-urban town centre also includes my under-construction LEGO store as well as several push carts and small pop-up stores.
To the right of the town centre is a train track that leads from the unseen metropolitan city to Brick Beach. To create a continuous flow for the entire Uptown, a pedestrian track crossing was created across the train tracks for access to the other side.
The older part of Uptown is not as well-maintained. It houses a highway bridge, train track, old fishing store, jetty and lake.
On the other side of the tracks sits an old fishing shop (LEGO ideas “Old Fishing Store” (21210)) that is built at the edge of a lake. A jetty with boat rentals is on one side of the old fishing store and one must imagine that this river extends beyond the display, on the right and past the front.
An elevated road bridge can be partially seen running behind the old fishing shop. This is a modified LEGO Marvel Superheroes “Web Warriors Ultimate Bridge Battle” (76057) that includes higher base supports, a taller bridge tower and 45-degree angles on both ends of the bridge to fit into the corner of the wall in my display space.
As noted, one of my design principles is to create a main unobstructed thoroughfare through a city layout. In the case of this display, there is a clear path of space from the common garden park (at the residential area) through the town centre and across the train tracks. The difference in elevation of different builds create landscape texture in the overall display, making it visually more interesting and large in scale, relative to its actual physical size.
The highlands is an undeveloped area on higher ground away from Brick Beach’s main town and its suburbs. It is an overgrown forest/ jungle but is rumoured to hide ancient ruins and hidden treasures. Explorers and archaeologists are constantly exploring the area hoping to make a big discovery.
This area space is much smaller than the other two main displays due to the reasons given in the previous chapter. The shelf measures just 4.5 base plates (32 x 32 studs) wide x 1.5 base plates deep. At a glance, the highlands probably looks cluttered but it is due to the nature of the display – an undeveloped overgrown jungle with river running through it. The display was created with many plant parts and the main builds are official LEGO sets.
The highlands display is on the highest shelf of my LEGO city space.
On one end of the display is a campsite for explorers and archaeologists embarking on an expedition. This campsite is set up in front of a heavily forested area that also shows signs of being inhabited in the past with tree houses being built on giant trees. This is the “Ewok Village” (10236) with much more texture added to it to look like it has been abandoned and overgrown. The campsite houses an outdoor kitchen, satellite workstation, supplies area, sleeping area, campfire and portable battery-powered lights.
The campsite is next to a river. The river flows from a narrow artery into a larger section that one has to imagine runs past the front of the display. There are rock formations and a bridge (LEGO Ninjago Movie “Master Falls” (70608)) that leads to a set of temple ruins. The crash site of a plane lies next to the temple ruins. Both sit on a small mountain that the river runs under.
The terrain along the river is uneven with rock and sand formations throughout. Dangerous creatures lurk around including snakes, crocodiles and giant Venus Flytraps. This part of the display was created with elements from the “Jungle Exploration Site” (60161).
Jungle campsite MOC created in front of the “Ewok Village” (10236).
River expedition scene created using elements from “Jungle Exploration Site” (60161).
A river artery MOC that flows under the temple ruins and airplane crash site.
The highlands continue past the rocky banks of the river to dry land on the other side. The terrain on this side of the river is much drier and rocky. It also holds the well-preserved ruins of an ancient temple (LEGO Ninjago “Temple of Airjitsu” (70751)).
The temple is guarded by two lion statues carved from rock which are from the LEGO Ninjago Movie “Temple of the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon” (70617). A bridge in front of the temple suggests that the river used to run through this area but has since dried up.
The other two builds, “Blacksmith’s Workshop” and “Smugglers’ Market” from the “Temple of Airjitsu” set, were used in the “Spa Villa & Yoga Retreat” MOC that currently sits in the Uptown display of my city.
I commonly identify different builds from different large sets and see how I can combine the builds to create a unique MOC. Sometimes, I see the potential of certain builds and keep them for future projects.
The main build from “Temple of Airjitsu” (70751) used as the main feature in this set of ruins to be discovered by explorers.
The deep sea underwater display is an expansion to the original “above ground” city. It was inspired by Jang Brick’s underwater display but I wanted to give it more original layers and textures.
I wrote the following backstory for this display:
This deep sea area is at least 100km far out from Brick Beach, in the middle of the ocean. So, it is not intended to be directly below the Brick Beach surface.
The deep sea display has three distinct areas that flow organically into each other in a single space.
The highest level represents a part of the seabed. This level consists of a double shipwreck scene where two ships have seemingly collided and sunk to the ocean bed. The incident happened recently; in the last year or two. A team of deep sea investigators was sent down to investigate the cause of the accident.
The site of recent shipwrecks and an underwater base set-up.
However, as they explored the wreckage, they noticed that the sea bed drops down to a deep chasm and an old ship wreck lies at the far bottom. This prompted the investigators to set up an underwater base on the higher level and send a bigger team down to investigate the old wreckage.
As the expanded team explored the old ship, they discovered another smaller wreck but more importantly, a deep cavern that hides an ancient city lost for centuries underwater.
Little do the explorers know that a sea dragon lives behind the walls of the ancient city. The twist is that all the shipwrecks were not caused by accidents or bad weather; but were in fact attacked by the dragon who has taken down dozens of ships over the last few hundred years.
Watch the LEGO city overview video below:
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Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of the city? Do you think we can squeeze even more things into this small space?