Review: 21054 The White House

Without a doubt, the White House is one of the most iconic buildings in the United States. As the 244th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence is celebrated, I present my review of the latest incarnation of this building in LEGO Architecture form. I don’t fully understand why this set received world wide release in June, with the exception of of North America. I will merely accept the fact, and move on.

The set comes, as one might expect, in a solid black cardboard box, with the now familiar ‘Greebled’ 18+ pattern, this time in white, along a strip at the bottom of the box.

On opening the box, we see several 8×16 plates in Earth green, as well as 8 bags, labelled 1-5. As with all Architecture sets, the instructions give us a potted history of the White House – With the site selected by George Washington, and designed by James Hoban, the original building, was also referred to as the Executive Residence and the President’s Palace, before being renamed the White House in 1906, by President Roosevelt.

Most of the elements in Bag(s) 1 have appeared before. I like the approach taken by the designers to make the hidden interior elements red, white and blue!

After building the base, we set about the foundations of the original house – A great use for masonry bricks, as construction of the rear portico. We start stacking transparent black plates at eitiher end, and use a ‘tombstone tile’ on an offset plate to form an arched window.

We Build up the interior of the building, and then start work on the front window of the building. One of the things I love about Architecture sets is the employment of novel building techniques – and the approach of stacking two rows, of trans black tiles, and alternating them with modified plates, to give the feeling of depth to the pillars between the windows. The bas relief is represented by clips, placed sideways.

There are two assemblies of similar windows for both the front and back of the building – although those at the front will have to wait until bag 2…

Bag 2 sees us tackle the front of the building, as well as the roof

Again, more red, white and blue. Again I smile. All of these elements have appeared before.

The north portico owes some design inspiration to the ancient Greeks, and I found an accidental substitution of a 1×1 plate for a prescribed tile caused me some difficulty for a while.

Acceptable Chimneys in the making.

The roof features some low slopes, as well as a number of holes, through which we install the chimneys. A clever use of the round plate with central bar, through an Apollo stud allows a simple 1×1 brick to be turned upside down, for use as an acceptable chimney.

We turn our attention to the front steps: staggered semicircles, and then an arrangement of plates and brackets to get the columns of the portico in place.

Bag three introduces a couple of new elements: the 2×1 plate with rounded ends – well it’s new in green.and we have several in the set. Two now, more later. We also have lots of green flowers, which get used as leaves on the trees in front of the Whitehouse..

Otherwise we get to work on the greenery, and others grounds works around the White House. The trees are densely packed: 5 branches, each with 6 green flower elements.

Smaller shrubs are constructed with the aid of the rounded 1×2 plates and some tiles.

And if we were rebuilding the 2010 LEGO Architecture version of this building (21006), this is where we would finish off. However, in real life, the White House has had both East and West Wings added over the years. And so we start with the East Wing.

We start with the plate, as well as the roads, paths and foundations. And more red and blue on the inside. Again, we have lots of SNOTwork to align the windows. This build owes a lot to the 1x2x 2 2/3 with 4 studs on the side, as well as the 1x1x 2 2/3 with studs on the side. They allow the windows to just build off to the side, and give us a great feeling for the neoclassical style employed in this building.

The shrubs here are not as large as those around the central part of the building, and we also have a few hedges installed.

Finally, we move onto the West Wing: Here we find the Oval Office, as well as cloistered corridors. Here we have a different effect, using the 2×1 plate with bar:

Again, we start with the base, and before long, adding plates along the foundations. We see another new recolour in this set: the 1×1/1×2 window arch, corner. This was introduced in the Great Hall Harry Potter set 2 years ago in tan. Now we have it in white.

There are very few elements in the walls of the west wing placed on their natural sides, except the roof: the roof mainly uses typical ‘build up’ techniques. Mainly!

We are now able to put the three modules together:

The final result is satisfying: especially if you have encountered a couple of challenges along the way. I am not familiar enough with the actual White House to have a good feeling about how this model compares with it. It looks impressive on the mantle piece.

I found this to be one of the more challenging builds that I have completed recently. I made a couple of small errors while preparing the chimneys, as well as the rear portico.

I enjoyed the liberal SNOTWork through the build, as well as the way that the columns of the main porch were arranged. Overall, I enjoyed the build: the challenges and detail involved contribute to me awarding it 4 Arbitrary Praise Units out of 5.

I did feel it was odd that this set is available throughout the world, two months before its release in North America, which is also in the middle of Summer Vacation. The 21054 Architecture White House set has 1483 pieces, and costs $149.99 AUD; £89.99 GBP; €99.99 in Germany and will cost $USD99.99.

What do you think of this set? Are you a fan of the SNOT Work? How about the overall layout? Why not leave your comments below. If you are in the USA, have a happy Independence Day and, until next time,

Play Well!

This set was provided by the LEGO Group for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

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