Just over 10 years ago LEGO engaged the AFOL community on what they really wanted to see next from LEGO. After extensive feedback and input from LEGO fans, the modular series was born with the launch of Cafe Corner 10182. This series set the standard for minifigure scale modular buildings and helped create and inspire a tsunami of modular MOC’s created by the AFOL community (myself included). Thanks to our Romanian cousins in Europe we have one such modular MOC that not only follows this standard, but brings the spirit and essence of a famous landmark in Timisoara, Romania. Emilian Gavrila spent 5 years creating and perfecting his take on the Water Palace / Palatul Apelor and finally ~8,000 pieces later his MOC was born!

The Water Palace sits on the famous Bega River and was designed by Hungarian architect Lipót Baumhorn at the turn of the last century in the Baroque style. Of course it’s great seeing the pictures of this great MOC, but wouldn’t it be great to drill a bit deeper. Emilian kindly offered to give a bit more background and depth into his creation and his own personal LEGO journey:

1. When did you discover or rediscover LEGO?
I first discovered LEGO when at about 8, father and I were looking to buy a new toy – something different. It was in 92, when LEGO got introduced in Romania after the fall of communism. We were in the central store of Cluj-Napoca and as we went up the aisle of toys we noticed Lego sets. My father said here try this and he handled me the 6009 Black Knight set. Since then I was hooked. Dark age kicked in at 15, but rediscovered LEGO at 21 and started spending my new job paychecks on LEGO.
2. What was your favourite LEGO theme and why?

I was always passionate about the Town and Train theme. Never knew why. But one thing I am certain is that this was the foundation the helped me become an Architect. I love designing buildings as I run my own business. Examples below:

3. What would you love LEGO to do moving forward?

I am really happy that LEGO started interacting and sustaining Lego adult fan groups in recent years. Here in Cluj-Napoca in 2008 I started with a few fellow AFOLs an association called Brickenburg. I retired from the association a few years ago, but they still organise great exhibitions across Romania. They are very well received by the public (Fans and people new to LEGO alike). I think LEGO should keep up the good work in continuing to sustain adult fans, as they are key to teaching younger ones the love for the brick.

4.  Where did you get your inspiration to create your MOC?

My inspiration to create the MOC came in 2011 when in the LUG Brickenburg. We decided each of us to take on a big project representing a emblematic building of a city from Romania. People will ask why didn’t I chose a local building from my home city Cluj-Napoca. Well, I considered that for my first custom modular building, I should try to take on something smaller in complexity and see how it goes. Then for the next project, I was planning if all went well, to take on my city’s Town Hall which would be a challenge. So I started looking for other representative buildings from other cities and I stopped at the Water Palace on the Bega river of Timisoara city. I am a big fan of neo-baroque so I said to myself this should be it. 

Another aspect was that everybody was enthusiastic about the LEGO Modular Buildings theme. I started collecting all from the Cafe Corner in 2007, so I thought why not make my MOC compatible with this series.

5. Did you use any software such as LDD to assist?

I used LDD to initially make some initial impressions on how to take on this project. So I simulated one facade. When I made my approximate calculations for the pieces I got my first number wrong as I forgot about the back garden facade.

6. What tips would you offer for budding LEGO MOC creators?

As tips and tricks I would suggest every MOC builder to follow his or her’s imagination, be persuasive in work, never look at a LEGO piece as it would only have one standard purpose, share their knowledge with others and use as inspiration the great work of others. Through sharing great ideas stimulate minds to produce great pieces of work.

One thing that is great about our AFOL community is the openness to share ideas, techniques and the love for all things LEGO. Emilian’s work is a real reflection of his love and dedication the brick and will hopefully inspire others to get creative.

To end on let’s take a further detailed look at Emilian’s Water Palace / Palatul Apelor in all its splendor.

I think I see a trip to Romania coming…

Happy Building / Clădire de fericit!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *