A Lego lover’s paradise

The Lego room in Seattle-based architect Jeffrey Pelletier’s home is a dream come true for Lego lovers across the globe. Pelletier’s love of everything Lego dates back to when he was two years old and has inspired his career as an architect that is now shaping Seattle’s evolving skyline.

TRANSCRIPT

THE LEGO ROOM IN SEATTLE-BASED ARCHITECT JEFFREY PELLETIER'S HOME IS A DREAM COME TRUE FOR LEGO LOVERS ACROSS THE GLOBE.

PELLETIER'S LOVE OF EVERYTHING LEGO DATES BACK TO WHEN HE WAS 2 YEARS OLD AND HAS INSPIRED HIS CAREER AS AN ARCHITECT THAT IS NOW SHAPING SEATTLE'S EVOLVING SKYLINE.

UP NEXT IS THE LEGO ENTHUSIAST HIMSELF.

REPORTER ANDREA VASQUEZ HAS THE INTERVIEW VIA GOOGLE HANGOUT.

JEFF, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE AN ARCHITECT?

I'VE KNOWN I WANTED TO BE AN ARCHITECT SINCE I WAS 2 YEARS OLD, ACTUALLY.

I USED TO BUILD LITTLE HOUSES OUT OF WOOD BLOCKS, AND I WOULD ASSEMBLE ROOMS FULL OF FURNITURE.

AT SOME POINT, MY PARENTS THOUGHT I SHOULD BE A FURNITURE MOVER, BUT I HAD HIGHER ASPIRATIONS AND DECIDED TO BECOME AN ARCHITECT INSTEAD.

SO, WHEN DID YOU START INTEGRATING LEGOS INTO YOUR PROFESSIONAL ARCHITECTURE PROJECTS?

[ LAUGHS ] WELL, THAT WAS PROBABLY WHEN I WAS AROUND 25 YEARS OLD.

MY LEGO WAS PUT AWAY IN A CLOSET FOR MANY YEARS, LIKE MANY ADULTS, AND AT SOME POINT, I HAD AN EMPTY ROOM IN MY HOUSE AND REALIZED, 'YOU KNOW, I'M AN ADULT.

I CAN HAVE A LEGO ROOM.'

WHY NOT?

AND IT KIND OF SLOWLY TOOK OVER MY LIFE.

AND NOW IT'S REALLY INTEGRATED WITH WHAT I DO AS AN ARCHITECT, AS WELL.

HOW MANY LEGOS DO YOU HAVE NOW?

YOU KNOW, I THOUGHT IT WAS AROUND 1/4 MILLION, BUT I'VE BEEN DOING SOME COUNTING SINCE.

I THINK IT'S PROBABLY AT LEAST DOUBLE THAT.

REALLY?

YEAH.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SENSE OF HOW MANY DOLLARS' WORTH OF LEGOS YOU HAVE?

I DON'T REALLY WANT TO KNOW.

[ BOTH LAUGH ] I TALKED TO MY INSURANCE COMPANY ABOUT IT, AND THEY SAY I'M COVERED.

THAT'S ALL I KNOW.

[ Laughing ] OKAY.

TYPICAL STREET VALUE FOR LEGO -- AS IF THERE CAN BE SUCH A THING AS STREET VALUE FOR LEGO -- IS AROUND 10 CENTS APIECE.

WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS WHEN YOU START TO BUILD WITH LEGOS?

WELL, YOU KNOW, I USED TO SKETCH.

I WOULD COME UP WITH AN IDEA, AND I'D SKETCH IT OUT.

BUT I'VE FOUND THAT I ACTUALLY AM FAR MORE CREATIVE IF I JUST SIMPLY PICK UP A FEW PIECES THAT I FIND INTERESTING OR UNIQUE AND START PLAYING WITH THEM.

AND AT SOME POINT, IT USUALLY EVOLVES INTO SOMETHING, WHETHER IT'S A BUILDING I'M GONNA BUILD OR A SPACESHIP OR SOMETHING FUN.

I KIND OF GO WITH IT.

SO YOU USE IT BOTH FOR WORK INSPIRATION BUT ALSO JUST PLAYTIME?

I'D SAY, PROBABLY, 75% RELEASE, RELAXING.

IT'S FUN TO KIND OF GET AWAY.

BUT, ACTUALLY, EVERY NOW AND THEN, IF I'M PLAYING WITH A CERTAIN PIECE, I'LL OFTEN GET INSPIRED TO THINK OF A DIFFERENT DESIGN FOR A HOUSE I'M WORKING ON OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

AND SO, IN THE AGE OF iPADS, HOW DO YOU THINK THAT LEGOS HAVE STILL SURVIVED?

YOU KNOW, THERE'S CERTAINLY A PLACE FOR TECHNOLOGY AND FOR MODELING THINGS IN THE COMPUTER.

I'VE FOUND, THOUGH -- AND I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE, TOO -- THAT PHYSICALLY PICKING UP SOMETHING AND BEING ABLE TO MOVE IT, SEE HOW IT MOVES AND SEE HOW IT ACTUALLY SHIFTS AND FEELS AND HOW THE SPATIAL RANGE WOULD WORK -- YOU CAN'T REPLACE THAT.

AND I'VE TALKED WITH A LOT OF OTHER ARCHITECTS WHO FEEL THE SAME WAY, THAT PLAYING WITH BUILDING TOYS -- WHETHER IT'S LEGO OR LINCOLN LOGS OR WOODEN BLOCKS -- HAS REALLY GIVEN US THE SKILLS TO CRAFT A SPACE IN 3-D.

AND WHAT KINDS OF PARALLELS IS THERE BETWEEN THAT AND YOUR ACTUAL WORK?

WELL, A GOOD CHUNK OF WHAT I DO IS DESIGN HOUSES OR RETAIL OR COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS, AND IN DOING THAT, ON PAPER, I HAVE TO, SORT OF, CONVEY, YOU KNOW, I HAVE AN 8-FOOT-LONG WALL, THERE'S A DOOR HERE.

BUT I HAVE TO UNDERSTAND IN MY HEAD WHAT THAT LOOKS LIKE IN 3-D AS I'M DRAWING IT.

AND SO BEING ABLE TO HAVE THAT SKILL, WHERE I CAN CLOSE MY EYES AND ENVISION SOMETHING INSTANTLY IN ALL THE DIMENSIONS, FROM THE CEILING TO THE FLOOR AND THE WALLS TO THE WINDOWS, HOW IT WORKS, IS INCREDIBLY HELPFUL.

AND I THINK THAT SKILL WAS REALLY BUILT ON THE FOUNDATION OF PLAYING WITH LEGO.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PROJECT THAT YOU'VE DONE?

GOSH, FAVORITE PROJECT... YOU KNOW, I THINK THERE WAS A GREAT BOOKSTORE I DID CALLED ADA'S TECHNICAL CAFé -- SORRY, TECHNICAL BOOKS AND CAFé -- UP IN CAPITOL HILL IN SEATTLE, WHICH WAS THIS AMAZING LITTLE PROJECT OF A BOOKSTORE AND A CAFé AND A COWORKING SPACE IN THIS OLD HOUSE, RENEWED BUILDING, AND IT HAD A BIT OF EVERYTHING.

THAT'S ONE OF MY FAVORITE PROJECTS.

AND DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE LEGO PROJECT ALSO?

OH, GOSH.

I BUILT THIS 7-FOOT-LONG SPACESHIP WITH A FULLY DETAILED INTERIOR FOR A CREW.

AND IT'S BEEN ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT, AS A CHILD...

WOW.

...I'D ALWAYS WANTED TO BUILD A BIG SPACESHIP.

WHEN I WAS AN ADULT AND HAD ENOUGH LEGOS, AT SOME POINT, I REALIZED, 'I SHOULD BUILD THIS.'

AND IT TOOK ME NINE MONTHS, AND IT HAD A WORKING HANGAR BAY WITH SHUTTLECRAFT AND CREW QUARTERS FOR 100 PEOPLE, AND IT WAS PRETTY AMAZING.

OH, MY GOSH!

SO, IS THAT STILL STANDING?

SADLY, NO.

YOU KNOW, IT WAS SO BIG -- IT WAS 7 FEET LONG AND 3 FEET WIDE -- THAT AT SOME POINT, I DIDN'T KNOW WHERE TO PUT IT, AND SO I [BREATHES DEEPLY] TOOK IT APART ONE NIGHT WITH A BUNCH OF FRIENDS.

WE BUILT LITTLE SPACESHIPS, AND WE ATTACKED IT.

IT WAS KIND OF FUN.

[ LAUGHS ]

AND DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE OR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PARENTS WHOSE KIDS ARE OBSESSED WITH LEGOS?

ABSOLUTELY -- BUY THEM MORE LEGO!

TRULY, I THINK IT'S ONE OF THE BEST TOYS OUT THERE.

I MEAN, I HAVE TWO SONS MYSELF, AND I SEE THEM PICK UP A TOY, AND WITHIN A WEEK, THEY'RE DONE WITH THE TOY AND THEY THROW IT AWAY AND THEY'RE ON TO THE NEXT THING.

THE THING THAT'S SO CAPTIVATING ABOUT LEGO IS THAT IT IS A SYSTEM AND THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS ADD ON TO IT.

I STILL, IN MY COLLECTION NOW, HAVE LEGO THAT I HAD WHEN I WAS 5 YEARS OLD, AND IT STILL WORKS, AND IT'S GREAT.

AND SO, IT IS, YOU KNOW, AN INVESTMENT IN PIECES, BUT IT ALLOWS CREATIVITY TO CHANGE, AND YOU CAN BUILD EVERYTHING, FROM ROBOTS TO SPACESHIPS TO BUILDINGS TO...ANYTHING.

I THINK IT ALLOWS CREATIVITY TO REALLY FLOURISH.

HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT ORGANIZING YOUR LEGO ROOM?

CAREFULLY.

IT TOOK A BUNCH OF TIME, AND IT'S ALWAYS EVOLVING.

IT DEPENDS ON WHAT PIECES I HAVE, AND SO SOMETIMES, IF I GET A REALLY GOOD DEAL ON A CERTAIN SET, THERE'S A LOT OF PIECES I'LL HAVE TO ADJUST AND MAYBE ADD A NEW BIN FOR SOMETHING ELSE.

BUT THAT'S BASICALLY HOW I BUILD.

SO I SORT BOTH BY PIECE SIZE AND ALSO BY COLOR, DEPENDING ON HOW I USE THAT PIECE.

IT'S REALLY PERSONAL.

OKAY.

AND ARE YOU STILL ADDING TO THE ROOM?

OH, I'M STILL ADDING TO THE ROOM ALL THE TIME.

YOU'LL HAVE TO LET US KNOW IF OR WHEN YOU HIT A MILLION.

[ LAUGHS ] I DEFINITELY WILL.

I DEFINITELY WILL.

I'M PROBABLY AFRAID TO COUNT TO THAT POINT, THOUGH, HONESTLY.

[ Laughing ] OKAY.

I DON'T BLAME YOU.

WELL, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO TALK TO US.

NO PROBLEM.

THANKS SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.