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UEA campus in Norwich recreated out of LEGO bricks

Mark Hodgson studied computer science at the University of East Anglia from 1980 to 1983 and has fond memories of his Waveney Terrace accommodation before it was demolished in 2005. After retiring five years ago, he picked up the hobby of recreating buildings from his past using LEGO, including his childhood home, his grandparents’ house, and now his university halls. He sees it as a way to remember the buildings and their significance in his life. He had to rely on his memory and join Facebook groups to fill in the gaps for reference photos, and it took him about three months to complete the build for his university halls, including research and gathering the required LEGO pieces.

He mentioned that the hardest part of the project was getting the ratio and shape right of the windows, and he had to keep rebuilding them repeatedly to get them just right. Mark revisited the campus earlier this year, and he described the project as almost like a memory retrieval exercise. For him, as someone who can’t sculpt or draw, building with LEGO is the next best thing, and he believes that going off to university is the first time one becomes a real adult and has to fend for themselves, which holds many great memories for him. He also replicated Suffolk Terrace and his one-bedroom study, in addition to Waveney Terrace.

Mr Hodgson, now living in Dorset, acknowledges the overwhelming support from people who shared more images with him on Facebook groups, as he did not have many reference photos for the building. The project took him about three months to complete, and he said he was unsure what his next LEGO building would be, but his husband is used to him being “obsessed” with different builds. He also mentioned that LEGO is becoming more and more aimed at adults, and if an idea sparks a memory, it’s worth building.

Overall, Mark Hodgson’s journey of recreating his university halls, alongside other significant buildings from his past, showcases his fondness for preserving memories and the significance of places in his life. He faced challenges in the project, including the difficulty of getting the windows just right, but the support he received from people and the joy he experiences in the process of building with LEGO is evident. It is a unique and creative way for him to remember the different stages of his life and the memories attached to these buildings.

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