National Trust

July 18, 2005 12:05 ET

Inspiring Tomorrow's Builders Today, LEGO Group and National Trust for Historic Preservation Launch 'LEGO'R' Brick to the Future: 2055' Building Challenge

ENFIELD, CONNECTICUT--(CCNMatthews - July 18, 2005) -

Win $5,000 Grand Prize scholarship, official designation as LEGO Preservation Architect

Fifty years ago, the first LEGO® play theme - Town Plan - introduced a collectible, compatible brick building system to the market. To commemorate the Golden Anniversary of the LEGO System of Play, the LEGO Group is partnering with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to challenge children ages 5-14 to build their vision of a town center of the future, circa 2055. Five finalists will compete for a $5,000 grand prize scholarship in a championship build-off this fall. Official rules, prizing and entry form may be found at, which debuts today and also provides information about the company's history, celebration partners and consumer promotions.

For this challenge, children are encouraged to fast forward 50 years and imagine: are the older buildings in their town still standing and why are they important? If buildings were renovated or changed over the years, what do the changes look like and why were they made? If breaking ground on new construction, what do the buildings of the future look like? Children can create one building, a small cityscape or a replica of their town - history is in their hands as they design and build the future brick-by-LEGO brick!

Kicking-off the 50th anniversary celebration May 9, LEGO Town Plan, the first LEGO set designed under the guidance of the company's "10 Principles of Play," received distinct "historic" designation from the National Trust. In a ceremony held at the National Main Streets Conference in Baltimore, Richard Moe, president of the National Trust, presented an honorary certificate to Karsten Kristensen, LEGO master model builder.

"In a year when the National Trust celebrates the 25th anniversary of its National Main Street Program, it is very fitting to also honor the LEGO Town Plan as an innovative educational tool that has no doubt inspired generations of creative thought leaders and preservationists," said Moe. "The National Trust is delighted to join with the LEGO Group to raise awareness for the importance of good design and craftsmanship in the builders and preservationists of the future - our children - with activities like the Brick to the Future contest."

"We are pleased to partner with the National Trust for Historic Preservation in recognition and celebration of our shared commitment to community, quality design and buildings, preservation and innovation," said Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, grandson of LEGO Group founder and current company owner. "My father developed the LEGO System of Play to fill a void in the toy market; 50 years later it is a mainstay of global childhood experience as a high-quality, compatible building system that grows with children, empowering them to creatively express themselves and bring their imaginations to life."

50 Years of the LEGO System

At the 1954 Toy Fair, a buyer told Godtfred Kirk Christiansen (GKC), LEGO Group managing director and son of company founder, Ole Kirk, that the market lacked a product with a sound idea that was fun and educational. GKC returned to Denmark with the goal of filling the need.

First, GKC formulated 10 principles of LEGO play , which still are used in product and brand experience development: 1) unlimited play potential; 2) for boys, for girls; 3) fun for every age; 4) year-round play; 5) healthy, quiet play; 6) long hours of play; 7) development, imagination, creativity; 8) the more LEGO pieces you have, the greater its play value; 9) extra sets available; 10) quality in every detail.

GKC then surveyed the company's portfolio of 200 wooden and plastic toys and identified plastic LEGO "Mursten" (automatic binding bricks), developed in 1949, as the best candidate for creating the LEGO System of Play.

The first play sets, called Town Plan, launched in Denmark in 1955, marking the first LEGO building sets with step-by-step building instructions to create a miniature town, complete with buildings, houses, roads, trees, fences and vehicles, and was designed to teach children the rules of the road through play. Town Plan sold well, prompting expansion of the System portfolio and sales in Europe, and then eventually to North America.

Since 1955, the LEGO System has grown to include preschool building toys, exciting play themes, versatile designer sets, hot licensed properties, constructible action figures, robotics and arts & crafts kits.

The LEGO Group, a privately-held, family-owned company based in Billund, Denmark, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of high-quality, creatively educational play materials for children. The company is committed to the development of children's creative and imaginative abilities, and its employees are guided by the motto adopted in the 1930s by founder Ole Kirk Christiansen: "Only the best is good enough." Experience the LEGO brand online by visiting

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a private, nonprofits membership organization dedicated to protecting the irreplaceable. Recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the Trust provides leadership, education and advocacy to save America's diverse historic places and revitalize communities. Its Washington, D.C. headquarters staff, six regional offices and 26 historic sites work with the Trust's 270,000 members and thousands of local community groups in all 50 states. For more information, visit

LEGO and the LEGO logo are trademarks of the LEGO Group. (C) 2005 The LEGO Group.

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