The history of current LEGO® Architecture series can be traced back to the beginning of the 1960s when the LEGO brick’s popularity was still steadily increasing. Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, the then owner of the company, began looking for ways to further expand the LEGO system, and asked his designers to come up with a set of new components that would add a new dimension to LEGO building.
Their answer was as simple as it was revolutionary: five elements that matched the existing bricks, but were only one third the height. These new building ‘plates’ made it possible to construct more detailed models than before.
This greater LEGO flexibility seemed to match the spirit of the age; where modernist architects were redefining how houses looked, and people were taking an active interest in the design of their dream home. It was from these trends that the LEGO ‘Scale Model’ line was born in early 1962.
The name itself was a direct link to the way architects and engineers worked, and it was hoped that they and others would build their projects ‘to scale’ in LEGO elements. As with LEGO Architecture today, the original sets were designed to be different from the normal brightly colored LEGO boxes, and also included An Architectural Book for inspiration.
Though the five elements remain an integral part of the LEGO building system today, the ‘Scale Model’ line was phased out in 1965–it would be over 40 years before its principles would be revived in the LEGO Architecture series we know today.