Lego Main Building arrives in McKenna Hall

Lego Dome 1

There’s so much to take in on Notre Dame’s campus — the “Word of Life” mural, the Grotto, the Basilica, the Golden Dome, Notre Dame Stadium, and a fairly new attraction of a diminutive nature — the Lego Main Building.
The miniature model resides in McKenna Hall on the first floor. The creator, Rev. Bob Simon, is the pastor at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania. The Lego Main Building project wasn’t his first foray into iconic landmarks; the Notre Dame alumnus tackled the Lego Vatican including St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square with Bernini’s Colonnade in 2015 for BrickFair VA. That masterpiece was displayed at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and in several cities in Poland.

An article in Notre Dame Magazine prompted Jim Small, associate vice president for storytelling and engagement, to reach out to Father Simon to see if he would be interested in building the Main Building. The three-year project consists of 300,000 Lego bricks, 70,000 tan bricks, 45,000 interior pieces and 300 windows with blinds. If you look closely inside the windows, you might see Lego people. Much like the original Golden Dome (currently undergoing a regild), Father Simon applied gold leaf to both the dome and the statue of Our Lady.

For the aspiring Lego architect, Father Simon suggested breaking things down into smaller pieces. “I always begin with the façade of the structure. I only focus on building that alone in the beginning. I remind others, as I have to remind myself, that I have to build one brick at a time. During a large project, I hit moments where I just want badly to be done. I’ll sit and look at the piece but not really touch it. Then I realize that it is not going to build itself and I need to build it one brick at a time.”

Father Simon isn’t sure what his next project might be, but said that Notre Dame Stadium, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and the Grotto have been suggested. But before a new build happens, a well-deserved break is in order.

“It has been a tremendous privilege to get to meet and talk to so many members of Notre Dame’s faculty and staff. What an incredible experience! There are many faculty and staff with a great love of Lego. The love of the University that I have witnessed is inspiring and contagious,” said Father Simon.

To see the Lego Main Building, visit McKenna Hall, through the east door of the first floor, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. To learn more about Father Simon’s Lego building projects, read “Check it Out,” the story of Father Simon’s model Vatican, and “Brick by Brick: LEGO Replica of Notre Dame’s Main Building Comes to McKenna Hall.”