Skyscrapers, fortresses and cities. When you think of these LEGO creations you probably don’t envision many girls building these models. Traditionally architecture in LEGO has been geared towards boys. Recent efforts, such as the PINKVISION Exhibit, are starting to even the field though there is still a long way to go before gendered equality is achieved.
Over the past several years LEGO has released Friends sets geared toward young women however backlash arose over the leisure and docile themes of the sets. The apparent response was the limited edition release of the research institute set, featuring women in prominent scientific roles. The set was a step forward in the gender disparity gap however its limited release offered only a temporary solution.
Just as in the real profession, women of LEGO architecture exist few and far between. Using the two most popular LEGO image hosting websites I conducted a quick study of gender using the first 25 images from each search.
*Flickr search results excluded non-architecture LEGO images (e.g. Minifigures, real architecture, etc.). Four images in Flickr did not have an identifiable gender, therefore were excluded from the total. In all cases duplicate builders and images were included once.
An underwhelming 4.9% of women are represented in the top LEGO architecture results on Flickr and MOCpages. This figure stems from social stereotypes that are experiencing very slow change. Generally LEGO sets offered to young ladies focus on leisure and luxury, leaving very little room for smart, strong and independent figures. Some bulk brick sets are offered but even they display leisure activities.
More encouragement for women to create architecture using LEGO could lead to more gender equality in the architecture profession. Roughly 25% of the field is composed of women, but about 40% of students are female. The difference in these figures indicate that women face a difficult path in becoming architects, as they face stereotypes, lack of role models and inspiration. LEGO may play a small role in overcoming these challenges however it is important for young girls to know that they can create great architecture.
While the boys dominate the LEGO architecture scene plenty of great female builders exist. Below you will experience nine extraordinary women who have significantly contributed to the world of LEGO architecture.
Anu Pehrson (2008- )
Stunning details and landscapes is what you can expect from Anu Pehrson. The majority of her works are in minifig scale manages to capture idealistic moment of the setting.
Fernanda Rimini (2010- )
JETfri, or @fgr62, likes to build mircoscale versions of real and imaginary buildings. Additionally she enjoys building minifigs vignettes. Be sure to check out her exclusive ArchBrick interview here.
Christina Loch (2013- )
brickare4me has been creating beautiful modular modern homes. The minifig scale homes are simple yet beautiful, and are complete with tons of details and furnishings.
Erynlasgalen built historical themed models, including builds with Middle Eastern and roman themes. While she no longer posts, her legacy still lives in the incredible effort put into her creations.
Janey Gunning (2002- )
Janey Red Brick, as she’s also goes by, is a woman of many LEGO talents. In addition to city buildings, she also builds murals, sculptures and other works of art. Though most of the works are older, Janey continues to inspire builders with her great models.
Mandy Dee (2005-2008)
Mandy Dee is one the earliest female LEGO builders to achieve high praise for her architectural creations on MOCpages. While her works are not replicas of real buildings, her models were often inspired from famous architects.
Rae McCormick (2009- )
Better known as SoftaRae, Rae’s work is nothing short of remarkable. Perhaps one of the greatest LEGO home builders to grace the web, her larger than (minifig) life Victorian and cottage homes models have received numerous press and praise.
Deborah Higdon (2008- )
As a woman of many talents Deborah Higdon never ceases to amaze. Her architectural works span various scales and are filled with amazing details.
Birgitte Jonsgard (2012- )
birgburg (her alias on Flickr) is another woman of many talents. Her work spans across many scales and types, including castles, homes and micro buildings. Regardless of model, all of her builds are beautiful and magnificent.