What Jefferson Would Have Made If He Had Lego


This amazing Lego Rotunda is the work of fourth-year student Thomas Lockwood, a mechanical and aerospace engineering major in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. He worked on it on-and-off beginning in his first year and used about 6,500 pieces. Check it out:


00-lawn 01-rotunda

Thomas explained how the project came together:

 I’ve been building with Lego since I was four, which greatly influenced my decision to major in mechanical engineering. Normally I build airplanes or vehicles from sci-fi movies, but I was surprised to learn no one had built the Rotunda in Lego yet and felt obligated to try building my own model.

I first looked at Thomas Jefferson’s original plans, and used my own pictures of specific areas such as the columns and capitals, to make the model more accurate. In making the design, I have a computer program, which allows me to design everything in 3D without having to worry about losing or running out of parts.

Once the computer model is finished, the program automatically creates a list to help me to find all the parts for the physical model, and once I have all the parts, I can use the computer model like a set of instructions.

I started the model back in my first year, working on it when I went home for summer and winter breaks. I brought the model with me to Charlottesville this past semester to finish the remaining sections before graduation (which was made a lot easier thanks to all the snow).

The model is 30 inches long, 16 inches wide, and 17 inches tall. I normally count the number of pieces used, but I lost count at 6,200, though I think the final part count is in the ball park of 6,500.

12 Comments on “What Jefferson Would Have Made If He Had Lego

  1. Amazing building, unfortunately diminished by the spelling of Lego in the title – “…if he had Leggos” Please correct!

  2. Let’s praise the accomplishment!! Well done, my friend!!!

  3. This is amazing and beautiful. Would love to have one!

  4. You totally rock, dude! Jefferson would be so proud that his Academical Village remains relevant, in more ways than one apparently! Great job!

    • He’s actually had a Firefly model reach the top of the voting process on there before, but was cancelled because Lego somehow deemed it too mature.

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