During the long winter break in Dec. 2020, Anders Cote ’24 built a digital Lego model for the entire St. Olaf campus. It took him a month to research and map out the whole campus and build a digital Lego version of it. The digital model he designed for St. Olaf requires about 11,000 pieces to build — including some that are rare and custom-made. As of this spring, Cote is trying to build a physical model of the project that would be displayed in the college.
What prompted you to start this Lego project?
Cote: I like architecture, history, and this campus too, and all those things combined. And I’ve grown up loving Legos a lot. I thought I should just try to design the campus on a micro scale. One thing kind of led to another and a month later I had a whole digital model of the campus with thousands of tiny pieces. I kind of started this project out of boredom during the long winter break in 2020 and then I just got into it. It was pretty awesome when I finished the project. The purpose […] was to do something that I like and show people that this campus is something that they can appreciate and honor. I wanted to build something that could show the essence of this campus to people; students, faculty, visitors.
Can you explain the design of this project?
Cote: The model represents what the campus currently looks like. I made the landscape into nine separate pieces, and you can break them up and attach them together to make it easier to carry. The buildings are all separated, too. So you can at once attach the landscape together and you can put the buildings in little holes where they belong. You could also take out current buildings and replace them with historical ones, like ones that have been torn down in the past or remodeled or have been added on to.
What are your plans for this project now that you’re done building the digital model?
Cote: I think it would be cool to have it displayed somewhere on campus so people can see it. So what I would like to do is raise enough money to order the pieces, build it, and put it in a display case somewhere on campus. I would like to have it ideally displayed in the library or Buntrock Commons so students and anybody who comes to campus can look at it and appreciate it. I’ve been working with several people in the administration and the staff who are helping me with making this project a reality and designing and building a stand to display the project. On the other side of things, even though each piece is just a couple of cents each, the rare ones are expensive. It’s mostly small pieces, but because there’s so many of them, it’s a little pricey — so it’d be about $5,000-$8,000. So, I have created a GoFundMe to raise all the money to build a set of the model.
Are you working on any other projects at the moment?
History and architecture are my two main interests, and I keep coming up with projects and want to share them with the St. Olaf community and the world. More stuff will keep coming along.
To donate to Cote’s campaign, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/st-olaf-lego-project or scan the QR code below.