Lego Ferry Building Display

Lego Ferry Building Display

In celebration of the San Francisco Ferry Building day, July 13th, artist Kenny Paul and the Ferry Building is proud to display the one-of-a-kind Lego model of the Ferry Building.

 

About the project, words by artist Kenny Paul:

An earlier version of the iconic San Francisco Ferry Building in LEGO was built by Mark Benz between 2012-13. It was an award winning model at the 2017 Bricks By The Bay convention.  Upon moving out of the area in 2021 Mark donated his model to me. The bones of the model were there, but it had been stored for a number of years and needed some tender loving care to restore it back to its original state.

As I was considering the restoration, I noted that there were many new specialized LEGO elements available now that didn’t exist a decade ago. Similarly there were plenty of online pics and high-definition drone footage I could use for reference that also weren’t available back then. This meant the model could now be made far more detailed than was previously possible. Ultimately I decided to do a complete tear-down and rebuild from the ground up using some of the core design concepts (and all of the bricks) from Mark’s original model, but modifying virtually every aspect of it in one way or another.

This updated version is taller, longer and wider than the original, but still far from being “correct”; a scale model in LEGO would be about 8 feet long.

How Many Bricks?  I did not count the individual pieces but estimated there to be approximately 12,500.

How long did it take?  The overall duration was a year and a half, but there were a couple stretches where it just sat there on the bench mocking me. Conservatively I’d put it at 450 hours, which also includes countless hours of looking at photos and drone footage

How much does it weigh?  34 pounds

Do you cut or glue any pieces?  No. Nothing is cut and the only time I ever glue anything is on the rare occasion where I’ve accidentally broken a piece and I don’t have a replacement on hand. This model has one broken window on the back side that I glued back together so that I could finish that section rather than ordering a new one.

Did you have instructions? No, it was mostly all trial and error to figure out the best way  to do something. Where I could I did rely on Mark’s original design concepts in several different areas as a starting point rather than going completely back to the drawing board for everything.  For example he’d already figured the appropriate dimensions of the clock tower so I could use photos of that as a reference point as I built a new one.

What was the most difficult thing to do? The large front and side windows were the most challenging and time consuming, but surprisingly the smaller details tend to be the trickiest.  Working in LEGO you are limited to both the part and color selection. The perfect part you need may not be made in the color you need, so you may get half way through something only to find out you can’t make it work and you need to start over. I spent several evenings fiddling with one of the air conditioning units until I got a design I was happy with.

Where did you get the parts? The bulk of the parts came from Mark’s original model which I took apart brick-by-brick, and a lot came from my own stock of parts.  Where I needed additional parts I purchased from several different sellers on bricklink.com, including a couple of international orders.

How do you move it? It is built modularly- The clock tower is in 2 sections and the building is in 3 sections, the center and both wings. The roof sections where they all meet up come off, as does the PORT OF SAN FRANCISCO sign. The whole thing goes together and comes apart in less than 5 minutes.

About the artist:

Kenny Paul is an award winning “Adult Fan of LEGO” (AFoL).  He was a contributing builder on the Mythbusters’ Giant LEGO Ball (episode #117), finished second in a competition for one of LEGO’s Master Model Builder positions, has scale models of farm equipment in the permanent collection of a local museum, and was one of the three people that collaborated on constructing the exhibit of the Immigration Station as it existed during WWII which you can see by taking a ferry right across the bay to Angel Island State Park.

Prior to moving to Rio Vista, he was well known for the 120 square foot LEGO train display he built out of his Newark garage every holiday season that sometimes drew 300 visitors a day. For more info please see  https://www.facebook.com/PaulFamilyTrain

 

TIME

July 1st to August 11th, all day

LOCATION

Ferry Building Marketplace