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Ridgefield Architect Builds Grand Central In Legos — And Maybe You Can, Too

Ridgefield architect Keith Olsen with his three children, from left, Benjamin, Kaleigh and Miles. Olsen built a miniature model of Grand Central Terminal from Legos. Photo Credit: contributed
Grand Central Terminal made from Legos Photo Credit: contributed
The inside of Keith Olsen's Lego version of Grand Central Terminal Photo Credit: contributed
The outside of the Olsen's Grand Central Terminal model made of Legos. Photo Credit: contributed

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. — Ridgefield architect Keith Olsen grew up playing with Legos. But little did Olsen know he would reconnect with the toy and end up designing a "Grand" model that could soon be available for purchase.

Olsen has created a 15-inch wide by 15-inch long by 5-inch high miniature model of Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan — made entirely of the miniature building blocks.

“Legos was one of my favorite toys as a kid, “ recalled Olsen, 42, a father of three who works for the Vertex Cos. as a forensic architect and expert witness.

For Christmas 2015, Olsen’s parents presented their son with his own set of Legos. It wasn’t long before Olsen had an idea to create Grand Central Terminal.

"It started off as something fun. I wasn’t really under any pressure to produce anything. It was definitely a way to relax at the end of the day," Olsen said. He ended up working on it for a year.

“Grand Central has been one of my favorite buildings. I think it‘s a beautiful piece of architecture," Olsen added.

When he began to run out of pieces, he borrowed from his children’s Lego sets and also searched online.

Over the summer, he had an opportunity at work to visit Grand Central.

"I got up on the roof and saw the skylights and the internal windows that you don’t see from the street. It made me realize I had to incorporate that into that model."

His miniature masterpiece is now posted at the Lego Idea website — where it could gain the attention of the Lego Group if it garners enough online supporters.

A model needs to receive 10,000 votes of support on the Lego Ideas website to be eligible for consideration by the Lego Review Board. The board chooses a few select projects each year to become actual Lego sets sold in stores.

To date, Olsen's model has received over 680 supporters.

Though he would get 1 percent of the sales of the product, Olsen said, "It’s much more about seeing something I created being sold as a Lego set."

His model will be on display at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk for its Lego Weekend on Presidents Day weekend from Feb 18 to 20. Olsen will be on hand to answer questions.

You can up-close see the exterior features of the model, which is on a scale of 1:500, including classical columns, soaring arched windows, and a statue of the Winged Mercury perched at the top of the roof.

Olsen intentionally left an opening in the roof to reveal the interior, with its skylights and clerestory windows as well as details of the main concourse, familiar to Metro-North train riders, with its ticket booths, information kiosk and the grand stairways.

His greatest challenge was taking a building that’s so elaborate and detailed and still getting the essence of it in such a simplified scale, Olsen said.

He has made too many updates on the model to count — and has fully taken it apart and rebuilt it three times.

For more information and to vote for Olsen's creation, click here .

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