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Children create replica of Hales Corners village out of LEGOs

Ezra Wood, 3, helps build a village of Hales Corners LEGO city during a program with architect John Peine in the Hunt room of the Hales Corners Library on June 19.

Ezra Wood, 3, helps build a village of Hales Corners LEGO city during a program with architect John Peine in the Hunt room of the Hales Corners Library on June 19. Photo By Dave Haberkorn

June 24, 2014

Hales Corners — Give children a pile of LEGOS, and they will amaze.

Children created a replica of the village of Hales Corners from thousands of LEGOs on Thursday, June 19, at the public library with the help of a local architect.

Local institutions like city hall, Hales Corners Elementary School and the police and fire stations were all created by participants — so were unexpected additions from kids' creative imaginations, like an army base, an airport, a hot dog stand on an island in the middle of a lake, and a park and pool where an ice skating troll makes ice skates for residents.

"It's a hoot," said John Peine, architect and LEGO program facilitator. "The scenarios are what are cool. You never know what you are going to get."

Peine and his wife, Sylvia, an art teacher, have led children in LEGO building for the last 20 years. Sylvia used to work for LEGO and John, as an architect, used to use LEGOs at events through the American Institute of Architects Wisconsin chapter.

The two have also made innumerable demonstrations at school high interest days, the Milwaukee Art Museum and Milwaukee School of Engineering.

About 85,000 LEGOs filled the library basement tables as kids sifted through 120 color-coded shoeboxes to create the city landmark of their choice or their home. Once completed, buildings were arranged on 10 banquet tables, which were divided by West Forest Home Avenue and South 108th Street.

John began the program by teaching kids that "arch" in the word "architect" means "master" and "tect" means "builder." He urged all participants to be a "master builder," a phrase he pulled from "The Lego Movie."

This is the library's second year constructing the village out of LEGOs. In April, John created a 40-foot K'Nex bridge at the library.

His next project is to visit Wauwaotsa's Public Library to create towers that are 10- to 12-feet tall.

"There's no crying in LEGOs," John said. "It's just a good time."

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