Renowned Danish toymaker LEGO seems convinced that the future of interlocking plastic building bricks is hugely impressive. Just weeks after announcing a massive head office expansion set to kick off next year, The LEGO Group has officially completed its multi-phase LEGO Campus project in its hometown of Billund.
Led by CF Møller Architects, one of Denmark’s largest and most venerable architectural firms, in the role of both design architect and landscape architect, the approximately 560,000 square foot office complex squares is made up of eight (naturally) interconnected “building parts” that have been “fused together to create a continuous workspace and place” for 2,000 LEGO Group employees – or “colleagues” as the company calls them. As CF Møller noted in a press release, the various parts of the building “echo the scale of the surrounding LEGO installations as well as the city of Billund, and the whole deliberately avoids uniformity in favor of diversity and playful twists, to reflect the multitude of options that the LEGO game represents.
The first two “parts” that form the new LEGO Group Corporate Campus debuted in 2019 as part of the first phase of the project; this included a squat office building topped with a Paul Bunyan-sized cantilevered yellow brick that houses meeting space. A total of two of these colossal LEGO brick volumes now perch atop the resort’s sedum-clad roofs, along with a mini-golf course and a greenhouse. The greenery that covers the roofs of the buildings stretches across the campus, which doubles as an expansive public park for Billund with walking paths, lush gardens and outdoor furniture made from recycled LEGO waste.
Though there is many happening throughout the kaleidoscopic headquarters, a central focal point is Campus Square. The name is a bit misleading as this anchor space is circular and centered around a sky-lit four-story atrium, with a winding yellow staircase that wraps around the soaring space.
In addition to the highly photogenic campus plaza, another major element, widely touted by The LEGO Group, is a cultural and activity center known as the People House. Developed in partnership with colleagues from the LEGO Group, the People House is designed as a place to “relax, inspire and rejuvenate” and aims, as the company explains, “to enable a more flexible environment for working and playing. and reflects the hybrid working style that is in place throughout the LEGO Group.
To that end, among the many amenities of the People House are fitness facilities, living quarters for visiting employees, a movie theatre, communal kitchen, health clinic, and more. Since the People House essentially functions as a home away from home, families of LEGO colleagues have access to the People House, which is spread across the ground floors of the individual interconnected buildings. As C. F. Møller has noted, the connective tissue between the various buildings, most of which rise only three or four stories high, is achieved as a series of “little plazas with brightly colored staircases “. [that] form social nodes and orientation markers.
Apart from the Lego Campus and its People’s House, Billund is home to many LEGO employees, a rather compact market town in the scenic countryside of Jutland in Denmark. With a population of just north of 6,000 in the city proper, Billund is one of the best known (and most visited) company towns in Scandinavia and is similar in size and character to the center ancestral design from Älmhult, the birthplace of IKEA. Sweden, but with a huge theme park and an international airport on its immediate outskirts.
As mentioned, the LEGO Group’s footprint within Billund is set to grow further with the 90-year-old company’s expansion plans first unveiled in February. According to the company, the investments should include the new campus called Kornmarken which will connect the existing LEGO factory to a new building of around half a million square feet. An estimated 1,900 employees will work at this newly created campus on the outskirts of Billund which brings together both factory colleagues and colleagues from the Engineering & Quality and Engineering & Workplace departments, which are currently dispersed to different locations around the city. In the heart of Billund, there are also plans to construct a new office building that will function as an innovation campus for the LEGO Group, providing “dedicated space for product innovation and product technology development”, according to the company.
Construction work on the Kornmarken Campus and the City Center Innovation Campus is scheduled to start next year; both are slated to open in 2025.
Back at CF Møller’s newly-opened main LEGO campus (which isn’t too far from BIG’s LEGO House experience center), sustainability played a key role in its design. In addition to green roofs and large swaths of open space intended to foster biodiversity, sustainable features of the LEED Gold campus include advanced rainwater harvesting, an intensive waste diversion program, passive daylighting systems and the use of recycled/recyclable materials throughout. The building is also partly powered by solar panels located on the roof of a nearby parking lot.
Engineer Niras and contractor KG Hansen & Sønner joined CF Møller on the project.