Central brick district

Brick by brick, he built a Lego version of our Central Business District (CBD).

It took 10 months of planning and building and more than 8,200 Lego pieces, but The New Paper's photojournalist Gavin Foo finally completed his model in May.

His Lego CBD is so detailed and impressive, it is on display at an exhibition showcasing Singapore landmarks made from Lego bricks.

Mr Foo, 36, has been a Lego fan since his childhood days and has constructed 10 different builds including a Merlion, an MRT train and a bumboat.

His latest creation is the biggest he has built: a 64cm by 64cm version of Singapore's CBD which he calls Micro CBD. It is one of 50 displays at The Little Red Brick Show, an annual showcase of Lego builds.

The show is part of National Library's exhibition, Past Forward: Hearts And Craft, in celebration of SG50.

What was his inspiration?

Mr Foo has one other pastime: viewing Google Earth images. He said: " I like observing the landscape from high above.

"One day, as I was looking at Singapore's CBD on Google Earth, I thought it would be fun to build a small version of it."

Micro CBD includes iconic structures like The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, OCBC Centre, One Raffles Place and Cavenagh Bridge.

Mr Foo even added small details like the Sir Stamford Raffles' statue and Fernando Botero's Bird sculpture on the bank of the Singapore River.

Work on Micro CBD started last July, with four months spent on designing it.

Mr Foo said that each week, he spent about 10 hours working on Micro CBD.

One of the challenges he faced was making sure all the buildings fit into his piece.

He said: "I lost sleep designing it. Whenever a certain area did not fit in, I could not sleep."

After designing, Mr Foo spent November to February buying the individual pieces from shops here and from online store Bricklink.com, one of the world's largest online marketplace for Lego parts.

He laid out the roads first, followed by the foundation and then the buildings. The project, which cost Mr Foo about $1,500, got the local Lego community raving about it.

I'm A Singaporean Adult Fan Of Lego, a Facebook group of local Lego enthusiasts, was so impressed by Micro CBD that it put it up as its cover photo.

Its group member, Mr Benjamin Lim, 24, said: "He had to plan all the bricks that he would need to replicate every iconic building. It's no mean feat and the end product definitely shines."


Micro CBD is also featured in this month's issue of lifestyle magazine Time Out Singapore.

The exhibition's main organiser, Mr Hansen Khoo, 41, praised Mr Foo's creation.

He said: "For this show, our guidelines were about builds that represent Singapore.

"Mr Foo's build represents the new Singapore and it is something that a lot of Singaporeans would love because of the scale. We felt it was something that would inspire others."

Visitors to The Little Red Brick Show were impressed by Mr Foo's work.

IT engineer Han Ng, 40, said: "The creativity makes this a standout piece. You can tell the person who built this put in a lot of effort and there is a real-world feel to it."

Miss Natasha, a 20-year-old student, agreed: "You do not see something like this every day and it is interesting to see how the real world has been turned into Lego."

Mr Foo also has another build on display: an SBS bus and bus stop, which took 7,800 Lego pieces to build.

After the exhibition, he plans to keep Micro CBD at home, adding that he will dismantle it only when he needs the pieces to build his next big model.

He said: "I love Lego because there are only certain types of pieces, but what you can build from them are boundless."

This article was first published on Aug 15, 2015.
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