North East Lego Landmarks at the Centre for Life

This weekend saw the North East Lego Landmarks and Brick History exhibitions open at the Centre for Life. The pair of exhibitions run from January 14th – 23rd April 2017. Although they share the same exhibition space they are by two different Lego Modellers.

North East Lego Landmarks

North East Lego Landmarks is created by Steve Mayes, Brick This. Steve worked for 10 years as an Architectural photographer. Things started to branch off in 2013 when he built a model of the Baltic Art Gallery. Over the following years he set up Brick This as a professional Lego architectural builder. In 2016 the project really found recognition as the Centre For Life booked him in for this exhibition.

North East Lego Landmarks

As we walked around the exhibit, Abigail spotted something on one of the models. “Look Dad there’s a little animal!” Which then sparked a connection off in my head. I’d spotted a hidden animal on another model too. Maybe there was hidden animals on all of Steve Mayes North East Lego Landmarks. And we were correct.

I have photographed all of the landmark models, but the detail to them needs to be witnessed first hand. It’s a bit like viewing a postcard of the Mona Lisa, it’s not as good as in real life. We’ve also photographed the hidden Lego animals, but tried to hide their locations, where possible. At least you know to look for them now! If you really don’t want to have a sneak peek of the display STOP reading now.

The Lego Baltic Art Gallery, Gateshead

Lego Baltic Art Gallery

Hidden Lego Owl

The Baltic Art Gallery building is an impressive Lego model. The focus on detail is perfect, down to the glass lifts on the front, the walk up ramp, to the modern roof structure on top of the gift shop.

The model first went on display at Woodhorn Colliery, February 14th 2015 and was later transferred over to the Baltic Art Gallery.

There is a Hidden Lego Owl on this Model!


The Lego Wills Building, Wallsend

Lego WIlls Building

Hidden Lego Black CatThe Will Building fascinated me for a lot of years. We used to drive by the empty shell and wondered what was going to happen to it. As a child I used to joke that I was going to live in it as a huge mansion. Little did I know that it would become apartments when I was in the position to buy a house.

The model showcases the art deco architecture of the building, without over complicating the concept. Even from this small section of the building we knew exactly what it was supposed to be. Even though the real building is probably 10 times wider.

We spotted a Hidden Lego Black Cat on this one.


The Lego Centre For Life, Newcastle

Lego Centre for Life

Hidden Lego Monkey

The Centre for Life Model is amazing. The building itself is constructed of so many curves, that making it out of Lego must have been a nightmare. Even the green / copper covered curved shell-like roof is captured neatly.

Look at the detailed parts on the roof of the office side of the model! One of my favourite views of this model was through the walkway as though your coming from central station. I took a photo, but didn’t want to share every view-point. You need to get down to the eye level of a Lego man!

We Spotted a Hidden Lego Chimpanzee. We thought was a nod to the fact that the chimpanzee model was missing from the upper walkway on out visit.


The Lego Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne

Lego Civic Centre

Hidden Lego FrogsThe Civic Centre in Newcastle town centre is a fairly modern building. Where as a traditional town hall would be drenched in history, the Civic Centre has lots of little Features.

The rusting “River God Tyne” sculpture is represented by a grey minifigure. The acoustically perfect entrance is supported on little columns. Side note: If you walk under the round part of the building and stamp your feet, it echos back at you like thunder!

We looked for a long time on this one and decided that there was Hidden Lego Frogs to find.


The Lego Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle upon Tyne

Lego Tyneside Cinema

Hidden Lego Spider

This Model is a focus on the Art Deco signage of the Tyneside Cinema. The Lettering is supported on stands which sit above the protruding polished stainless steel canopy.

Even this small model has a Hidden Lego Spider!




The Lego Tees Transporter Bridge

Lego Transporter Bridge

Not so Hidden Lego Dolphin

The Transporter Bridge is replicated in a Lego Technic brick. I love the honest simple construction of it and how the carrier is suspended with black thread.

We’ve decided that the Hidden Animal is a Dolphin, but it is not so hidden.



The Lego Kielder Observatory, Kielder

Lego Kielder Observatory

Hidden Lego Hedgehog

Although I’ve never been to the Observatory, I want to go and experience it with the family one night. The Wooden clad structure and rotating observation aperture, gave it away (even though it wasn’t labelled up).

The black / dark, sky sets up a nice backdrop.

We spotted a Hidden Lego Hedgehog.



The Lego Maggie’s Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne

Lego Maggies Centre Building

Hidden Lego Parrot

The Maggie’s Centre was one of Steve’s first commissions and is a detailed interior and exterior model. I wasn’t familiar with the building, but it is based at the Freeman Hospital. The Maggie’s Centre provide free practical, emotional and social support to those suffering from cancer, and their friends and family.

We spotted a Hidden Lego Parrot on this model.



The Lego Tynemouth Outdoor Swimming pool

Lego Tynemouth Swimming Pool

Not so Hidden Lego Crab

This model is a construction based upon the artist impression of a scheme to resurrect the Tynemouth Outdoor pool. The pool has been left to ruin over the years and a recent investment in the area has generated interest in reinstating this attraction.

We spotted a not so Hidden Lego Crab.



The Lego St James’ Park

Lego St James' Park

Hidden Lego Seagull St. James’ Park is a detailed model. From the supporting steel cantilever beams, to the flood lighting around the roof. One of the details I like about this model is that even the pitch is marked out. I’m sure you used to be able to get a printed green peg board for Lego football! As you move around the building you can see the official Newcastle united Store and Shearer’s Bar

We spotted a Hidden Lego Seagull here.



The Lego Angel of the North

Lego Angel of the North

Hidden Lego Bunny

The Lego Angel of the North is an impressive model to witness. It is self supported and perfectly balanced. The curved calves, thighs, and head of Anthony Gormley’s design is perfectly captured. I could see this one becoming a must have Christmas gift for local Lego enthusiasts

We spotted a Hidden Lego Bunny.



The Lego Team Valley Map

Lego Team Valley

Hidden Lego CatAt first we weren’t blown away with the map of Team Valley. It is a different type of Lego model. It is only when you start to work out where businesses that you know are located that it stands out. Team valley is based upon a handful of parallel roads, but it is also a maze of cross roads too. It’s easy to find the Retail World, and spot the lack of parking too.

We spotted a Hidden Cat in Team Valley!



The Lego Tyne Bridge

Lego Tyne Bridge

The Lego Tyne Bridge wasn’t designed by Steve Mayes, but is included in the exhibit. It was commissioned by Newcastle NE1 Business Improvement District Company. The model was on sale for £295 on a limited edition basis.

There was strictly only 500 available to buy. I spotted one in the window of Upside Down Presents, Dean Street / The Side around Christmas and looked into it further. For more info on the Tyne Bridge this was the place to buy it. Lego Tyne Bridge Model

Lego at the Centre for Life

There is a lot more to the Lego exhibition than the Lego North East Landmarks. These mere snapshots don’t capture that detail of the construction. Aside from these models there are a further 50 models depicting important moments in history. These include President Obama’s inauguration, The Civil Rights Movement, Vesuvius eruption, The Big Bang, Discovery of DNA and the Norman conquest. Abigail was fascinated by a split model depicting a Castle at Peace and a Castle during war!

To find out what’s on at the Centre for Life visit


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