Building a winning piece brick by (Lego) brick

Local student’s creation part of New York exhibit


ABOVE: This Brooklyn Bridge Lego design by Cole is currently featured in an exhibit at the Discovery Times Square museum in New York City. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: LEFT: Cole Reynolds, standing in front of his large Lego collection at his Huntsville area home Thursday, holds a Republic Gunship from the Star Wars series that he created from a Lego set. His creations also include a 5-foot long bridge that is pictured behind him. (PHOTO | REYNOLDS FAMILY)

An Indian Lake Middle School student’s fascination and talent for building Lego creations has garnered him a win in a national contest and a spot in an exhibit in New York City.  

Eighth-grader Cole Reynolds built a Lego version of the Brooklyn Bridge that is currently displayed at Discovery Times Square’s Art of the Brick gallery through January.

He was one of 40 people of all ages from around the country who was selected for the exhibit that revolves around the work of Lego brick artist and New York native Nathan Sawaya.

“I was really excited when I found out about the contest,” he said during an interview Thursday.

“I was almost expecting it, to be honest,” his father, Casey, said. “I felt that I’d be a little surprised if he wasn’t selected. Cole has made some really fantastic Lego pieces and has a great imagination.”

During a trip to New York this summer, Cole’s family stopped at Discovery’s interactive museum and saw Mr. Sawaya’s 3D Lego sculptures and Lego art “paintings” based on famous works like Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

These works are made from thousands of Lego bricks, and one of the largest pieces, a dinosaur sculpture, features more than 80,000 individual Lego bricks.

It was at that time that Cole learned about the chance to have one of his pieces featured in the professional exhibit.

“I saw the advertisements for this contest, and thought that I wanted to try it,” said the 13-year-old who often purchases Lego sets with his allowance money or asks for the building bricks for Christmas and birthday gifts.

When he arrived back home in Huntsville, Cole built the Brooklyn Bridge piece from his large Lego collection and submitted photos of his design for the contest. Then a short time later, he was informed that his bridge was named a finalist, and he needed to send the actual Lego creation to contest organizers.  

“Most people hand-deliver their entries, but living in Ohio, I wasn’t able to do that,” Cole said. “So I took apart the bridge and super-glued the whole thing back together. Then we packaged it up really well and sent it to New York.

“Fortunately, it didn’t break on the way there. They told me that it could have been disqualified if it had broken in the mail.”

“We made sure to bubble wrap it and pack it ever so carefully,” said his mother, Jenni.

To check out his handiwork in person, Cole and his mother and two family friends made a trip back to New York earlier this month. There, they received free tickets to the museum and also a signed book from Mr. Sawaya.

In addition to winning the contest, Mrs. Reynolds said Cole’s Lego hobby has been a beneficial activity for him.

“I like that it really challenges the imagination,” she said. “It’s a really good hobby for kids. When they’re working with Lego (bricks), they’re being creative and not just mindlessly sitting in front of the TV.

“He’s also bonded with friends over sharing ideas for Lego creations.”

Cole’s building skills should also be helpful in his future career, as he said he’d like to become an architect after serving in the U.S. Navy following high school.