LEGO Fanatics–er, Architects–Rejoice!

One would be hard-pressed to find an architect whose story doesn’t begin with the fascination of LEGO. The tiny plastic bricks, with its “stud and tube” connection added just enough stability for structure but plenty of flexibility for the imagination. A childhood that was literally laying the foundation for a future career in architecture.

Chesterfield County, Virginia, is now the future home of the next carbon-neutral LEGO factory. The toy company is investing more than $1 billion to build the facility of 1.7 million square feet and employ more than 1,760 people.

Located on a 340-acre tract that includes Meadowville Tech Park, LEGO pledged to create a highly energy efficient site. One hundred percent of its energy needs will be matched by onsite renewable sources through an onsite solar park.

“We were impressed with all that Virginia has to offer, from access to a skilled workforce, support for high-quality manufacturers, and great transport links,” Niels Christiansen, CEO of the family-owned company headquartered in Billund, Denmark, said in a statement. “We appreciate support for our ambition to build a carbon-neutral run facility and construct a solar park and are looking forward to building a great team.”

vintage LEGO system ad
Courtesy of The LEGO Group: Since LEGO’s inception in the 1930s, the company’s founder, Ole Kirk Kristiansen, was dedicated to the design, quality and precision of the toys that architects (and maybe a few children) have come to appreciate.

Securing the project was a joint effort between the Virginia Economic Development Partnership who worked with Chesterfield County, the Greater Richmond Partnership, and the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment Project Approval Commission.

“The LEGO Group’s decision to establish its U.S. manufacturing plant in Virginia shines a global spotlight on the advantages that make the Commonwealth the best business location in the nation, and we look forward to a long and successful partnership with this iconic company,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin in a statement.

Since LEGO’s inception in the 1930s, the company’s founder, Ole Kirk Kristiansen, was dedicated to the design, quality and precision of the toys–all things architects’ value in their own work. Each LEGO brick is molded to the accuracy of a hair’s width (5my/0.005mm) to ensure the perfect ‘clutch power’ that holds LEGO creations together.

“The LEGO Group’s combination of creativity and sustainable business practices is a perfect fit for our region and we’re happy to help them build for tomorrow,” said Jennifer Wakefield, President + CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership.

Construction is slated to begin this fall and be completed in 2025, including the onsite solar park.

Team Three is an editorial and creative consultancy based in Washington, DC.

Q+A: Alyson Steele, FAIA on a Museum for All, Not the Few

photograph of Alyson Steele FAIA in the foreground with stairs in the background

The National Museum of the American Latino opened the Molina Family Latino Gallery at the National Museum of American History in June. The 4,500-sq. ft. gallery is the Smithsonian’s first gallery dedicated to the Latino experience and Latino contributions to the United States. Designed to engage multigenerational and cross-cultural audiences, the Molina Family Latino Gallery integrates the universal principles of inclusive and accessible design. The content and overall experience are in English and Spanish and accessible to diverse visitors with varying physical, sensory, and brain-based conditions. Inform sat down for a conversation with Alyson Steele, FAIA, LEED AP, principal-in-charge for Quinn Evans, on the design of the gallery.

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Design Forum’s Cazú Zegers: Ecocentric not Egocentric

Changing our egocentric culture to an “eco-centric” one, says the Chilean architect Cazú Zegers, is when we  see ourselves as part of a complex system that needs to be treated with humility. It’s a message she shares as founder and director of Cazú Zegers Architecture and Foundation +1000. Named among the Latin American architects who break down barriers by Forbes Magazine in 2020, Zegers is a featured speaker for Design Forum: South is Up! June 3-4  at the Ballston Center at Marymount University in Arlington. Register and join her at

In a recent Madame Architect interview, you said “The territory for America is just like monuments for Europe,” and yet student sketchbooks are still not filled with topographies and river paths today. Why are we still stuck on architecture’s monuments elsewhere to contemplate a vernacular future here?

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