Brick by Brick, National Capital Exhibition

17 Jan

The Brick by Brick – Build Your Own Capital expo at the National Capital Exhibition grabbed my attention a few weeks ago. Visitors are encouraged to build their own version of what the capital could look like, or replicate our institutions (with handy construction sheets), with lego or duplo. I drag Boyfriend along, ready to build something amazing… but this is quickly quashed when I realise I have no skills with lego at all.

Now, let me explain. My issues with lego aren’t simply that a) I can’t follow instructions (although that’s true) and b) I am pretty bad at translating what I see in my head to what I see in front of me. My issues with lego come to a head simply because I am shockingly bad at being able to find the pieces I am looking for. This is my breaking point. Anyway.

We arrive into the cool National Capital Exhibition building and are invited to see the broader exhibition, but I am on a mission to build something. Our host doesn’t look at us like we’re crazy; instead, she agrees that lego building is for all ages, and shows us into the exhibition room, with a roped off area to build our own capital buildings. There are lego ‘stations’ in this area, with buckets of lego on either side of a table. Knee pillows are available (nice touch).

Knee pillows

Knee pillows

I’ve got my eye on building the Australian War Memorial. There’s a detailed construction sheet, but rather than assist me to build, it does me a favour by quickly helping me realise it is well beyond my lego skill level.

It wasn't to be

It wasn’t to be

Also not to be

Also not to be

The National Library looks easy enough, and it helps that the building itself is in view across the lake from where we’re building. Actually, there’s plenty of activity out the large windows.

098

You can probably guess, but even with what’s essentially a manual, my ability to translate what I want to build into what I actually build fails me, and my patience quickly wanes.

This is what it should look like

This is what it should look like

More inspiration

More inspiration

My interpretation.... see what I mean about not being able to find pieces I need... and not being able to calculate even distances between things... not to mention that this pic has been taken at an angle so you can't see all the incomplete bits

My interpretation…. see what I mean about not being able to find pieces I need… and not being able to calculate even distances between things… not to mention that this pic has been taken at an angle so you can’t see all the incomplete bits

Sorry National Library. I do not do your beautiful building justice.

If you DO have lego skills, you can build Parliament House and the Arboretum (the latter in 20 years time)

If you DO have lego skills, you can build Parliament House and the Arboretum (the latter in 20 years time)

The best thing about the National Capital Exhibition is, even if your lego skills are frightful, there’s plenty else interesting. The exhibition about our great capital itself is genuinely interesting – even for a knowitall like me. There are plenty of fun facts on the wall, and they’re presented in an interesting way which captures my attention.

Yay Canberra

Yay Canberra

I feel I need to keep this in my wallet as a handy guide when I am lost in Forrest/Deakin

I feel I need to keep this in my wallet as a handy guide when I am lost in Forrest/Deakin

A great reminder of how to think about our future development...

A great reminder of how to think about our future development…

There’s a huge diorama of the Parliamentary Triangle, which lights up with an interesting explanation of where things are, and why they’re there, and how to interpret the design. There’s also a video playing – a documentary on the building of new Parliament House. I spend an embarrassingly long time watching this video, but love hearing the contemporaneous quotes (including “I don’t understand why it has to be so big. Is it to create jobs for the builders?”).

Awesome diorama

Awesome diorama

Apparently we don't know who our Prime Minister is

This bit of the exhibition might need updating

This is really well put together – the lego can draw the kids in, but if they throw a tantrum like me, there’s a great educational element to it all. The exhibition is going on tour throughout Australia as well, and arrived in South Australia today.

Finally, there are heaps of construction manuals as suggestions of institutions to build, and they’re available to take home (probably to give people like me some opportunity to practise!).

Date: Sunday, 12 January 2014

Where: National Capital Exhibition, Commonwealth Park

Cost: Free

Worthwhile factor: Worthwhile

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