In recent years, there has been a significant amount of research on the subject of block play, or “construction toys,” and their effects on developing minds. Popular examples include wood blocks, Mega Bloks® and, of course, the prolific brand of LEGO®.
LEGO bricks, in particular, have recently received attention after BBC released a short documentary, entitled “LEGO – The Building Blocks of Architecture.” In the 30-minute documentary, host Tom Dyckhoff explores the ways in which modern architecture and design have benefitted from the popularization of the seemingly simple toy.
Research shows that giving children the ability to experiment with interconnecting blocks helps them develop an understanding of the basic concepts of space, structure and design – skills vital to the foundation of architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) practices.
An interesting difference between the block play of today and the block play of our childhoods is the integration of technology. Sure, there still exists 86 pieces of LEGO for every person on the planet, according to the BBC documentary. However, children today experience the LEGO brand on multiple platforms, including movies, video games and theme parks enabling them to experience the magic of LEGO’s “endless possibilities” in a way that transcends into the digital world.
This is a common trend for today’s youth as they quickly become versed in the ways all fields of design translate to the digital platform. This is where BIM and the evolution of the building process come in. With an early childhood foundation of creativity and block play followed by the learned concept of computers, mega data and virtual models, the upcoming generation of design professionals is already equipped with the tools needed to build a bright future.
Assemble continues to believe in educating our builders of tomorrow. We recently launched a new Academic Program to educate high school and university students about innovative products and technology for the AEC industry. With early exposure and education, we can incite the optimization of BIM data application in the future.