And finally… Japanese architect’s unusual alternative to Lego

TsumikiTokyo architecture firm Kengo Kuma and Associates have designed a set of cedar building blocks that allow kids to explore more complex and unusual shapes.

The designers behind the £80 million V&A Museum in Dundee think the time has come for the next generation of architects to put down the square and rectangular building blocks and to embrace the triangle.

Teaming up with Japanese forest conservation group More Trees, the firm has released Tsumiki: a set of non-traditional “building blocks” that the architects bill as Japanese Lego.

Yet, outside of being able to build things with them, there’s little similarity between Tsumiki and Lego in either shape, material, or construction. Each Tsumiki block is a triangular wedge of cedar, with notches in its legs that allow them to fit together. Tsumiki’s unique angular shape allows for structures that would actually be much more difficult to achieve with rectangular blocks. You can still use Tsumiki to construct simple cubic buildings, but the system can just as easily make structures that would be inelegant or rickety to construct with Lego, such as arches, temples, bridges, and more.

They aren’t colourful or flashy, so it’s possible Tsumiki blocks might not quite capture some kids’ imagination the way that Lego does. They will, however, intuitively teach kids all about tangent and radial trussing—exactly the kind of deep lesson on architecture you’d expect from the makers of Tokyo’s next Olympic stadium. Available in packs of 13, you can purchase a set of Tsumiki for around 74 US dollars.

(All images courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates)

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