Sean Kenney: Art with LEGO bricks
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John Hancock Center, Chicago     ‹ Back to commissions
Photo of John Hancock Center, Chicago
67" x 12" x 23"        12,985 LEGO elements.        Completed June 16, 2009
This model of the John Hancock Center in Chicago is about 5.5 feet (1.65m) tall and contains nearly 13,000 LEGO pieces. It is about 1:270 scale and took about 80 hours to design, build, and glue.

John Hancock Center LEGO model by artist Sean Kenney

Just like the real building, each of the four sides taper back slowly, decreasing a full third of the width by the time they reach the top. Not only do the real building's front and sides each taper at a different rate, but the diagonal "X" patterns are each at different slopes and different widths. That means there's 4 different slopes going on at any point! It's always pretty tricky to make slopes and diagonals with little rectangular LEGO pieces, so I did a lot of math and graph-paper-drawings before building anything. The easy part was making it look pretty!

John Hancock Center LEGO sculpture by artist Sean Kenney

I always love adding streets and city life to my models of buildings. It adds a lot of fun to the model and helps bring it to life! Here, you can see the busy street scene and the sunken plaza that leads the building's shopping and restaurants.

LEGO Hancock Center by Sean Kenney

Sean Kenney LEGO Architecture Hancock Center

Creating the "X" patterns across the front of the building was trickier than it looks. The sides of the building step in half-a-LEGO-brick as the building tapers... but the X pattern does not, which necessitated some tricky LEGO maneuvers. :) One of my favorite LEGO pieces is the "jumper", which lets you offset pieces by half a LEGO brick.

Chicago Skyscraper LEGO Sean Kenney

There are 4 mechanical floors in the building. Each uses over 200 tiny pieces!

John Hancock Center LEGO model by Sean Kenney

For some reason, I always love building the "roof junk". Antennas, pipes, transmitters... they're fun to build and they look cool. I was lucky to find a photo online documenting the building's various antennas and transmitters, and kept them as true-to-life as possible.

John Hancock Center Sean Kenney

LEGO John Hancock Center  Sean Kenney

John Hancock Center LEGO model by artist Sean Kenney

John Hancock Center LEGO model by artist Sean Kenney

John Hancock Center LEGO model by artist Sean Kenney

The street at the base of the building includes steps down to the sunken plaza, as well as a little street scene with a CTA bus, Chicago Police Department police car, and a cool red-and-white taxi cab.

John Hancock Center LEGO model by artist Sean Kenney

John Hancock Center LEGO Certified Professional Sean Kenney

And of course...

Blues Brothers Bluesmobile LEGO model by Sean Kenney


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