Rendezvous With Geisel

Digital Dreams  is a veteran builder from the UK who has flown largely under the radar (at least my radar), unrecognized by the warm and embracing communitay, but the big blog’s loss is definitely our gain here at the Manifesto.  For today’s spotlight offering we’re going to examine a Digital gem from 2014.  Recently I was feeling inexplicably and inexcusably maudlin for a simpler time in my misspent youth and I started googling images of the main library at the University of San Diego, nicknamed “The Spaceship”.  No, I didn’t quite have the grades or motivation to actually attend the well regarded school but I dated someone who did and I’d meet her for lunch every Thursday between her rigorous class schedule.  Our designated rendezvous point was always the magnificently futuristic Geisel library, of Dr. Seuss fame.  The place made me feel like I’d stepped onto the set of Logan’s Run or Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, indeed as if I’d stepped into the dystopian future.  Some people have their spirits moved by cathedrals or skyscrapers but for me it was Brutalism, always Brutalism and in sunny San Diego the pickings were pretty slim in when it came to that architectural style.   When you apply that style to a library, it really doesn’t get much better for me.  I’ve been to the famous main branch of the New York public library and it can’t hold a candle to the Geisel, in part because you can’t actually walk the stacks, the books are all inaccessible in a downstairs vault and you have to wait in a lobby for your selected tomes to be brought to you.

I’d always make it a point to arrive a little early and enjoy a bit o’ the halfling’s leaf before wandering around the building and grounds.  As I strolled I would imagine all sorts of  bizarre and unlikely scenarios, some of which would turn up in my pitiful attempts at writing science fiction.  I wasn’t into Lego at that point but if I had been I would no doubt have tried at least a micro-scale version of the imposing edifice.   So you can imagine my delight when my google search revealed that not only was there a Lego version of the building out there, but it was a spectacular, perhaps definitive example of my beloved library.


Strangely it was actually this next photo of the footbridge that I encountered first and it might as well have been a time machine because it immediately transported me back to 1987, when I rocked an epic mullet and drove my beloved ’79 RX-7.  I always appreciate it when town builders who favor large structures take the time and care to include at least a little of the surrounding grounds.  It’s fine to show a car or a spaceship out of context, but buildings really suffer from that treatment.  Everything is where it should be at the digital Geisel, the bike racks the staircase entry the planters, it’s all there in meticulous, sometimes understated detail.  This was the exact lunchtime rendezvous point, right where the red-shirted minifig is standing. You can hear the distant echoes of this concrete palace in my Logan’s Run diorama from a few years ago.  It’s not too often that I find such a personal connection with a model, much less a digital one, so hopefully you’ll excuse my nostalgic musings.

The only way to really appreciate the model is to check it out at MOCpages, where Digital Dreams has made the most of the otherwise dodgy site’s one great advantage: story telling.  You’ll find, among other things, a much better backstory on both the building and the model than I could hope to provide here, and more importantly you’ll see the fully detailed interiors, comparison shots galore and schematics.  He’s also included a few thoughts on the building process which are a pretty insightful look into the daunting process of creating the digital Geisel.  I’m pretty sure there are larger and more intricate digital models out there but at 117000 pieces this one has got to be towards the top of the list.  You’ll also find some cool animated GIFs as well.  The presentation amplifies the model in the best possible way.

If you have a nagging feeling you’ve seen the Geisel before, it was used in the frequently overrated but popular film Inception, where it co-starred as an evil arctic base.  for my money it was the best part of the movie.  Was it a dream?…Was it real?…I couldn’t tell you constant reader because I feel asleep 3/4 of the way through.  Such a deep film…so very deep. Everyone remembers the hallway fight but I submit that the only thing worth remembering were the brief seconds my beloved library graced the screen.  Inception…the film that found a way to make dreams boring.


If you dig the Geisel you should check out the rest of Digital Dream’s photostream, he’s got some crazy cool shit to get lost in.